From IVP Wiki


Do we need an 'easy pass' for the information web?

It would be convenient to have a virtual "easy pass" that worked everyone on the web to identity us for personalization, services and payment. No more multiple user names and passwords; and a single place to park the bits and pieces of your online identity.

But what if there was only one place you could get such a pass? The government? A big company? Like Facebook? Or Google? Or Amazon? What if your "easy pass" from one provider didn't work anywhere else?

That's where we're at with trust and identity on the web today. As a result, information commerce is complicated and confusing. Publishers have no way to invite users to simply make a small payment for information the value.

Eric Schmidt: An alternative to one-company ownership?

Eric Schmidt, the chairman of Google, believes the Internet doesn't handle user identity well. "Historically, on the Internet, such a fundamental service wouldn't be owned by a single company," Schmidt told Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher in a May 31 interview. "I think the industry would benefit from an alternative to that."

I'd like to invite you to review and comment on a forthcoming white paper from the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute (RJI). It proposes a new public-benefit initiative -- the Information Trust Association -- that could create a world of exchangeable "easy passes" for trust, identity and information commerce. The paper is in circulating-draft form. The title: "From Paper to Persona: Managing Privacy and Information Overload; Sustaining Journalism in an Attention Age."

Here's a link to get started:

Check it out, then read on if you want to learn a little more.


The first set of links on the page will also bring you to a 40-minute video discussion/overview recorded April 27.

We're hoping it will spark a critical dialog and collaborative action lead by the news industry.

The paper is organized such that you can access it as a one-page abstract, a three-page executive summary or the full 42-page paper. Almost every page has a boxed callout and subheads to make grazing even easier. Don't put it aside as too long. If you like, just read the first three pages and skim the rest. If you don't get it, we've failed.

It's got two principal sections:

    • The first section scans, observes and assesses the current landscape for digital content -- advertising and news -- asserting the ascendancy of an "Attention Age," and describes how people-formerly-known-as-publishers must adjust.
    • The second section makes an argument for publisher and info-tech collaboration to create a public-benefit "Information Trust Association" initiative to facilitate the needed changes.

You are on my short list of most-strategic-and-reflective observers of the collapse and pending reinvention of journalism. Would it be possible for you to skim the paper and provide me a publishable comment (a sort of liner note)? We want to build a set of reactions -- constructive criticism, praise, advice -- that will help others to assess the argument.

The key thing we need help on: Is there an "aha" moment -- a section that you feel makes the case compelling. Tell us where that is.

    • Page 2 is a one-page, bullet point summary of the ITA proposition, benefits and roles. Does it sum up well?
    • Pages 44-46 give nine examples of successful industry collaboratives. Are you left feeling the ITA can succeed in some of the same ways?
    • Pages 47-50 introduce the idea of the "four-party model", with four charts.

We're especially curious to know if this item does a satisfactory job of explaining the idea of multiple user agents rather than a single registrar (as in iTunes).

HOW TO COMMENT: You can comment by emailing me, or by adding a comment to the wiki page:


-- bill

Bill Densmore, Consulting Fellow
Reynolds Journalism Institute
University of Missouri / Columbia
VOICE MAIL/CELL: 617-448-6600 @infovalet