Andy Powell talks about the move in UK higher education from centralized identity management (Athens) to a federated approach (Shibboleth) and wonders what lies beyond that …..
But what of 5 or 10 years time? Well, it seems to me that strategically the current federated situation is just a stepping stone on the road to a completely devolved identity landscape. On-line identity will become an individual’s responsibility and we will see a corresponding shift from a federated to an individualised approach. Expecting students to turn up at a university in 10 years time and be told that they’ve got to use the identity provided by their institution will be as anachronistic as expecting today’s students to turn up and use their institutional email account. (OK, universities might still just about get away with mandating use of their email accounts – but surely not for much longer?). Students (and staff) will expect (perhaps even demand?) to be able to use the same on-line identity that they use for everything else – the one they used at school and elsewhere before going to university and the one that they will use afterwards. Academic institutions will be users of identity services, but they will not be identity providers. [eFoundations]