Why Not Make OpenID the Law?

While browsing through my Google Reader today I came across an article about a new mobile social network that will launch at Mobile World Conference. It wasn’t the social network that interested me in particular (although it’s definitely an interesting product), it was yet another social network that I have to register for. I am honestly fed up with having to register for websites. As someone who regularly registers for new sites, I’d like to have an easier way to manage my identity.

This is only the beginning of new services being launched. We will see thousands of new social networks spring up in the coming years and we will be forced to register to see what new services they offer. While on the basic level this may not appear to be a significant problem imagine how many people ask “what if I built a social network that …” each and every day. A large percentage of those people will eventually succeed at building their social networks whether or not their social networks are successful (most won’t be as Brian Oberkirch points out).

So as these spring up it is ultimately in our best interests to have a central location for managing all the places that have our identity. We should also be able to turn off websites’ access to our personal information. If you don’t know what OpenID is then go read about it, this post isn’t about what it is but why we aren’t using it? Personally, I haven’t embraced OpenID because most large social networks have yet to embrace it. Once they do I will be the first person to start using OpenID full-time.

Given that OpenID is already the solution for the multiple logins and multiple digital identities, why doesn’t the government step in? At this point I consider it a privacy issue and without it we will maintain the chaotic landscape of social networks that currently exists. I realize that this is nowhere near as important as ending war or fixing our healthcare system but it’s definitely an important in the digital age.