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Single Sign On

Logon When the World Wide Web made its debut more than a decade ago, keeping track of login names and passwords was fairly simple. As the web grew in popularity, and new services like banking and shopping online came of age, more and more services required users to create special names and passwords to access personal information, or other ‘members only' features.

For an active Internet user, these login combinations could multiply quickly. Passwords soon needed to be at least eight characters and contain extra numbers or characters to prevent security problems. Some times when you created a new user name, you found your username was in use, and pretty soon you needed a file to keep all your different login combinations straight. Often post-it notes with your usernames and passwords could be found stuck on your monitor or under your keyboard. How secure is that?

OpenID.jpg Recently, a new alternative to all the confusion is gaining momentum in the online world, called OpenID. The concept, originally developed in 2005, allows users to get access to any OpenID enabled site using a single ‘trusted' username and password. You may already have an OpenID you aren't aware of from services like Google, Yahoo, AOL, Verisign, Paypal and many others. When you encounter a service using OpenID, your username and password is checked from a trusted OpenID source like those mentioned above, and you're granted access.

This system is considered to be very secure, and very convenient, and is now being adopted by many government bodies who see the benefits of individuals using a single, secure identification for the web, including the City of Nanaimo.

OpenID in Government

The City of Nanaimo is not alone in recognising this global need. The US Federal Government has recently committed to embrace OpenID to allow simple access to citizen resources (http://openid.net/government/). As of November 2008, there were over 500 million OpenIDs on the Internet and approximately 27,000 sites had integrated the OpenID standard*. (* see - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenID)

 

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