Digital Identity Management on the Internet

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CitationTerm paper presented to Computer Science 457/557 at Yale in Spring 2006
AuthorWill Tsui


It did not take long for the Internet to evolve from a time when the primary use of the web was for public distribution of static files to an era of Internet services designed to disseminate information based on the unique needs of a single networked user or entity. As Internet technologies have matured and become more cost-effective to utilize, individuals and organizations throughout the world have set up online services that take advantage of the convenience of the global network to enable communication and facilitate business transactions. Because the existing Internet architecture, based on the IP protocol, was designed with simplicity in mind, it provides an effective way to connect devices but does not concern itself with whom or what is being networked. As a result, Internet users wishing to take part in private communications or transactions ordinarily have had to establish their identities by manually creating separate accounts at each Internet service. Additionally, with transactions of higher and higher value being made over the Internet, a large, new community of hackers has formed to pray on the weaknesses of the existing Internet architecture to seize the identities of both Internet users and service providers. These issues, among others, illustrate the overwhelming need for a new solution to the digital identity problem on the Internet, in hopes that some day Internet users will be able to make transactions on the Internet safely, privately, and conveniently.

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