BBC joins OpenID, but it won't work yet

The BBC has quietly joined the OpenID Foundation, announcing the move on its BBC Internet blog. The BBC is the first large media company to join the foundation. Microsoft, Verisign, Google and IBM joined in February. Google,Yahoo, Digg, Technorati, AOL, Plaxo and WikiPedia have previously announced their intention to support the standard, seen as an easy way for users to use a single digital identity across the Internet. So it looks like OpenID is here to stay.

The move is in no way a response to my recent rant on the BBC opening up their data more to outside developers and startups. But it’s a step in the right direction.

However, the BBC’s Jem Stone says they won’t “immediately be offering OpeniDs on or even promising to do so.” First they have to “make absolutely sure that this is right for users, is secure and can be implemented properly across all the BBC’s many services.” So it’s really the announcement of an intention, not a service yet.

First they need to replace their platform, with a substantial upgrade based on a data-driven, RESTful service oriented, platform independent architecture. Plus they need to replace their SSO (Single Sign On) identity platform to something OpenID compliant.

It will be interesting to see what users make of this. I like the OpenID ide, but the term OpenID is way too suggestive of a lack of control for the user, and to promote it as ‘OpenID’ would make most mainstream BBC users thing they were ‘opening up’ their ID somehow. This is why services like ClickPass make so much sense.