November 02, 2010

OpenID Foundation Finally Grabs @openid Twitter Account

The OpenID protocol, aimed to authenticate users in a decentralized way, helping individuals own their own identities instead of requiring unique accounts for every service, has had something of an ironic issue for some time - given that the OpenID Foundation didn't actually own their own ID for one of the more popular discussion forums out there - Twitter. Today, this issue can be put to rest as Facebook employee and open source advocate David Recordon announced this afternoon they had gained access to the @openid account - giving folks a central place to keep tabs on updates to the protocol.

While OpenID at times has been pilloried for being obtuse, making logins more complicated rather than less, the project has helped push the concept of decentralized identities away from individual domains, including last week's news that Flickr had adopted the standard. The protocol, developed by now Google employee Brad Fitzpatrick in 2005, while at Six Apart, has seen deployment at a significant and influential number of Web services, and has corporate members including Facebook, Google, IBM, Microsoft, PayPal and Yahoo! on the foundation's board of directors. Ironically, nobody from Twitter is involved on the board.

The release of the account may or may not have been related to yesterday's OpenID OAuth Summit, held at Facebook headquarters, which saw stakeholders from a variety of tech companies, including Kevin Marks of BT, Chris Messina and Joseph Smarr of Google and Tantek Çelik, computer scientist at, participate to potentially discuss the differences between the at times complimentary but competing formats. Also, the Internet Identity Workshop (IIW) kicks off today in Mountain View, where many of these same folks will be participating.

Debate on OpenID versus OAuth continues to rage on the Web, of course. Recent entries include the Halloween post on Codebase: OpenID OR OAuth – That is the Question. Regardless of the eventual resolution, proposed as a new agreement called OpenID Connect, adoption of open standards and reduced complexity is a good thing. You can now follow OpenID's happenings at @openid.