One of the big announcements at Catalyst that I twittered about was the formation of the Information Card Foundation (take that, OpenID). The purpose of the non-profit foundation is to promote the use of information cards as a secure way to present personal identity information on the web. The foundation has a power-packed set of companies as steering members (Oracle is in there along with Google, Novell, Paypal, Equifax and, of course, Microsoft) and a great Board providing direction with people like Kim Cameron, Pamela Dingle, Patrick Harding, Ben Laurie and Drummond Reed (among others) leading the way.
Information Cards try to mirror the familiar, real-world experience of presenting cards to prove identity and provide information in the online world, and aims to do so in a safe, secure manner that is resistant to phishing, pharming and MITM attacks. Despite having been put into the wild a few years ago, and despite the tireless efforts of people like Kim Cameron and Pam Dingle to make it accessible, there are scant few web sites (of any note, anyway) that actually allow people to use information cards. The ICF (much like the OpenID foundation, which also kicked into high gear a few months ago) is looking to put some weight behind the effort to evangelize the technology and expand its adoption in the marketplace. As it states on the ICF Web site, the foundations purpose is to
Advance the use of the Information Card metaphor as a key component of an open, interoperable, royalty-free, user-centric identity layer spanning both the enterprise and the Internet.
It will be very interesting to see how the ICF goes about doing this, and when results will start to show. But this is undoubtedly the beginning of something big. For all of us.