Friday, March 02, 2007

Green identity management

This Wall Street Journal article makes me think that all our efforts to minimize the number of login, form fill etc operations for users are, at best, misguided, and at worst, damaging the planet.

Instead of devising ways to decrease such identity operations for end-users, we should be asking ourselves the more fundamental question - "Can we harness the energy of these identity operations?"

Countless watts from untold mouse movements, key taps, and button clicks go wasted, lost as friction and sound. But it needn't be so. Small generators (patent soon to be pending, details TBD), if attached to our keyboards and mouses (mice?), could tap into this power source.

The math is compelling

1) ~ 1 billion internet users
2) ~ 30 login operations per day
3) unknown amount of power generated per login operation

That's got to be a big number, probably in the 'teraergs' range if I had to guess.

Of course, when every login operation serves to mitigate greenhouse gases, there would no longer be any motivation for SSO or attribute sharing, we'd want to maximize the number of mouse-driven identity operations as much as possible.
  • You suspect a phish email? So what, login anyway, it's for the planet.
  • You don't want to enter your URI at every site you visit? Suck it up buddy, the ice caps are melting.
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome have you contemplating voice recognition software? Sure, go ahead, my kids can learn to breathe CO2.

We in the Identity Management industry would of course be out of work. I for one would be willing to make this sacrifice - there is also immense untapped power in the motion of the arm as it raises a Gin & Tonic to the mouth.

"Hey Mr. Bartender, make it a double, I'm saving Antartica one drink at a time".

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