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The Many Faces of Identity

Radia Perlman | YOW! Sydney 2023

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People usually assume that “the identity problem” is well-understood, and that, given how long Internet authentication has been deployed, the world must have solved how to do that (whatever “that” is) securely. This talk describes various issues; for instance, how does a website get a name, how does a website get a certificate, how does a browser know what to trust to vouch for website names in certificates, how a human finds a website, how a human acquires a name, and how a user proves they own their name. Surprisingly, there are problems with all of these aspects as deployed today. As with most security problems, some people propose “blockchain” as being “the solution”. This talk will describe what aspects of identity and authentication blockchain might address, and compare a “blockchain“ approach with what is deployed today. If the talk spurs spirited debate, all the better.

About the speakers

Radia Perlman
Radia Perlman

Fellow at Dell Technologies