Brussels / 2 & 3 February 2019


ID4me: using the DNS as a directory for identities

Who needs a blockchain when you have the DNS?

The DNS was born as a directory for hosts, but shouldn't it also be a directory for people? As Internet-scale single sign-on and identity management platforms multiply, each enclosed in its own private namespace, there is a need to federate them and make them interoperable in an open and standard manner. We will discuss why the DNS is the best tool for that, compare it with trendy but less suitable alternatives (e.g. blockchains), and summarize the workings and the status of existing projects (ID4me).

The talk starts by discussing why a standard identity layer for the Internet is necessary and how it could work. It then discusses the possible options to build a distributed and federated database of existing identities, which is necessary for any such layer to work; and shows why the DNS is the best option currently available, when compared to Web-based protocols (e.g. Webfinger) and to blockchains. The talk then presents the architecture of the ID4me project, an attempt to build an open and public standard for Internet single sign-on based on the DNS; since the project was already partially presented in last edition's DNS devroom but has accomplished several new steps, it then gives an update on its status.

An earlier version of this talk was already presented at the 2018 DNS Symposium organized by ICANN in Montreal last July (the slides from that talk are attached as a sample). This version will include an updated second part with some more details on the architecture and recent developments of the ID4me project.


Photo of Vittorio Bertola Vittorio Bertola