Eric picks up the right stick, and perhaps even the right end of it, when he begins puzzling through DigID by way of credit cards. They don’t compare perfectly, but I do think that credit cards, perhaps in conjunction with cell phones, represent the point d’appui, the site where leverage toward DigID can most readily bear fruit without arm-twisting or hand-wringing. (Thus I’m not surprised to see Nokia, American Express, Vodaphone, VISA, and MasterCard among the Liberty Alliance members.)
I’m not a Passport expert, and I’m suspicious of Microsoft (not an MSFT-hater; that’s wasted energy) — so I’m not the one to predict whether Passport will be the lever. Liberty Alliance, though I suspect the trustworthiness of some if its partners, seems like a better bet; a collaborative approach runs less risk of misbehavior by a monopolistic proprietor, and their support of PingID and the open Jabber protocol make an impressive show of good faith.
Hey, Eric — why not seed this enterprise with something really attractive, such as an intriguing online game? Offer anyone who wants an ID to play Norlin-Land, and then say, “You know, if you’d like to buy a book from Amazon, just enter your credit card number in your preferences dialogue box.” The game doesn’t have to be as intricate as Unreal Tournament or Ultima or Sims Online; in a certain sense, the simpler the better. (Although just imagine what would happen if the game were itself fascinating; think of the possibilities if Liberty Alliance were to make a partnership with Ludicorp for the Game NeverEnding. The mind reels . . . .)