understanding the importance and impact of anonymity and authentication in a networked society
navigation menu top border

.:home:.     .:project:.    .:people:.     .:research:.     .:blog:.     .:resources:.     .:media:.

navigation menu bottom border
main display area top border
« The Erosion of Privacy: Why Don't We Care? | Main | NYMITY, P2P & ISPS »

What’s my opinion of you? Opinity.com

posted by:Marty // 05:54 PM // April 20, 2005 // Digital Identity Management

A new service launched today, Opinity, aims to put a new spin on reputation systems. Opinity aggregates qualitative and quantitative data from a variety of reputation sources (think Amazon, e-bay, etc) to provide meta-opinions on internet users. See the press release here.

Any person with an email address or an online ID can participate. Opinity allows individual Internet users to view aggregated data on the past behavior and performance of their peers and to rate a peer's reliability and trustworthiness. Access to this information helps people make educated decisions about the individuals with whom they interact and transact business online. Opinity's universal accountability model motivates Internet users to be professional and honest while discouraging unreliable and unethical behavior by people participating in Internet interactions and transactions.

What concerns me, in light of the cavalcade of database breaches is Opinity’s means of protecting authenticity of information (note the soft set up):

With Opinity's patent-pending Veridem(TM) Technology, the authenticity of a person's own online ID can be safely and securely verified by providing his or her specific UserID, and Password along with the website name where he or she is registered. A user can verify two IDs and provide that information as proof that both are owned by the same person. The importance of verifying user identification (ID) is that it provides a much higher degree of certainty about the reliability and accuracy of user ID information. Therefore, for example, Opinity weights reviews for and by someone with a verified ID much more heavily than reviews done without ID verification.

Actually, there is a lot more that concerns me: Who in their right mind would supply Opinity with the user name and password with the site that they are registered under. With this information, 1) Opinity can log into the account and play around, cull transaction or other information and likely credit card information, and 2) if they don’t do these things, with the information lying around in their database, someone else will.


Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry:


What about the terms of service? You're probably violating those by giving your password to Opinity. If not now, as soon as they get big.

Look for Opinity to be running over Tor.

Posted by: Adam Shostack at April 20, 2005 06:15 PM

Oy is right....maybe this is a hoax? If not, I really hope people aren't stupid enough to make use of that feature. Also, I would love to see the business model for this company. What are they counting on?

Posted by: Vigo at April 20, 2005 10:49 PM

I had the pleasure to go down to Opinity's offices this week. They are great guys trying to solve a tough problem - supporting people who want the freedom to aggregate their digital identies.

Right now you can't use any third party to verify that who you are on one site is who you claim to be on another. With this service you can suppot the movement of your reputation wihin a community of sites - to have ones auction seller persona integrated and perhaps separately one's movie reivewer persona integrated - see this great post on a potential use case http://chewshop.typepad.com/weblog/2005/04/whats_your_repu.html.

I also inquired about the password situation that this service presents - once Opinity verifies that a person owns an account they erase the password it does not go into their databases. Also once verified that they are the identity they say they are - people are free to change their passwords.

Posted by: Kaliya at April 29, 2005 02:35 PM

What exactly is the value of linking ones ebay reputation with ones Match.com and classmates.com profile. I don't see the value.

Posted by: John at May 31, 2005 01:28 AM

Linking one's ebay rep with match.com profile might not mean that much, but I can see the value of linking one's ebay rep with overstock or yahoo rep!

I guess you don't have to link all the identities that you have - just link whatever makes sense. That's where I see the value of this service.

Posted by: Tim at June 8, 2005 08:49 PM

Post a comment

Remember Me?

main display area bottom border

.:privacy:. | .:contact:.

This is a SSHRC funded project:
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada