Identity at Mozilla

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  1. ID provider support now live on BrowserID

    Feb 7, 2012 — by millsd

    Last week we pushed out a BrowserID feature that gets us closer to the decentralized identity system we envision for the Web. But more than that, it enables a truly awesome user experience—registration flows go from 8 screens to one simple sign-in. Seriously! See for yourself:


    Chicken or egg

    Some context: Building a distributed system is a chicken and egg problem - you have to design a system that can demonstrate the power of your idea and the advantages of a distributed architecture while you bring in participants who will become actual nodes in the system. That’s why, so far, BrowserID has operated with scaffolding that uses the BrowserID service itself to vouch for email addresses.

    With our latest update, however, we’re setting aside some of that scaffolding and allowing a fully decentralized system to emerge: Identity providers can become full-fledged participants in BrowserID and directly vouch for their users’ email addresses.

    What’s changed and what you need to know

    If you’re a website that’s already implemented BrowserID, you don’t have to do a thing: BrowserID is just better for you! Up to this point, Browser ID has been vouching for users’ email addresses on behalf of participating websites. Now email providers can directly vouch for their users, eliminating the need for an email confirmation step or a BrowserID password.

    Note that this change only takes effect when the email provider for a given address implements BrowserID support. Other email addresses continue to work in the same way they do today, with an email confirmation and password from the BrowserID service.

    With ID provider support, users will have a better, faster, smoother registration experience.

    Give it a spin.

    Attention email providers large or small: whether you’re an enterprise, an ISP, a university or institution, you owe it to your users to check out this key new feature of BrowserID. Now it’s easy and incredibly simple for any email provider to become an identity provider for their users.

    Try out our demo ID provider at eyedee.me and your @eyedee.me address on any BrowserID site. Take a look at our code and documentation. Let us know what you think via our mailing list, IRC channel, or via the Twitter hashtag #browserid.