The bare minimum to exist in the digital world is to have an email address. Email addresses have the same characteristics that a National ID tend to have these days: its unique to a person and is used to identify a person online and much less obscure to remember than a National ID. However, the problem online is that we tend to have loads of different IDs – a lot of websites want us to register with them and so provide a username and password and an average web user will have at least a dozen of unique ID on different website.
Dissociative identity disorder (DID)
“DID is a psychiatric diagnosis that describes a mental illness in which a single person displays multiple distinct identities or personalities, each with its own pattern of perceiving and interacting with the environment” – Wikipedia
Having multiple ID inherently weakens the strength of authenticating on websites since what most users do is choose one password and use it for all websites. So if one stupid forum website is vulnerable to attacks and is hacked, the list of passwords could be available and there’s a big chance that many people have used the same password for more critical applications like online banking!!!
Personally I think that someone shouldn’t be made to remember more than 6 different usernames and passwords and in this sense I would be very happy if OpenID could be adopted across the web soon – this would remove the mental burden of remembering many passwords but would I use OpenID for everything? Hmmm…