EclipseCon 2007 March 5-8, Santa Clara California

I-Cards: How everyone will soon sign-in to everything

Paul Trevithick (

· Short Talk

Thursday, 10:20, 10 minutes | Ballroom GHAB


Microsoft Vista includes a first incarnation of this concept in a product called CardSpace. Microsoft's implementation only works on Windows platforms, only uses a single identity protocol and is mostly "read only." The Higgins project uses the same UI metaphor, but extends it to other platforms and protocols. Higgins also introduces an i-card "manager" that allows users to manage identity information about themselves. This talk will show the Microsoft CardSpace user experience as well as briefly describe the WS-Trust and other WS-* based underlying protocols. It will then give an overview of the Higgins project's objectives (including full interoperability with Microsoft), the contributions by IBM, Novell and others to the project, and the current roadmap. This talk aims to demonstrate why i-cards represent a breakthrough in security, user control, and ease of use, and that this approach will ultimately be how users sign in to everything from RCP apps to web apps. No prerequisite knowledge required. No passwords either!

In the last few years my work has focused on creating open source infrastructure for the "social web." A user-centered networking layer that gives people more control over their digital identities across a wide variety of computer-mediated contexts (e.g. email, IM, e-commerce, shared spaces, and enterprise directories). I'm currently CEO of Parity Communications (, co-founder of, technical project lead of the Higgins project (, co-founder of and founder of I've been involved in the process of inventing software, consulting, building companies, and launching new products for the past 20+ years in partnership with Apple, Verizon, IBM, Xerox, Agfa, Fidelity, the DoD, the Berkman Center and others. Previously I was president of Bitstream (NASDAQ:BITS) and CEO and co-founder of Archetype, Inc. and Lightspeed Computers before that. I've been honored to participate in a number of standards efforts over the years, was granted the Seybold Industry Vision award in '99, did research at the Media Lab in the early 80's, and graduated from MIT.

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