Assurance for eParticipation Widgets

Ages ago, I was thinking about how to start getting information and interaction away from government portals and out where the people are – blogs, Facebook, MySpace etc.

This implies that an e-government would see widgets as part of the strategy, and indeed this is one of the areas that EuroPetition is hoping to investigate – search for ‘widget’ on this page. Obviously, if you’re signing your name on a petition widget[1], you want to know that you’re giving your personal details to a legitimate organisation, for instance having the assurance of that the widget is digitally signed?

Anyway, this is a lead up to saying I found this piece on a proposed W3C spec for digitally signing widgets by Ben Laurie very timely: “Trust me, I’m signed“. Have a read, and see why digitally signed widgets might be good for assurance that they come from where you think they come from, but are not a guarantee of traceability of the owner: it’s too easy to obtain certificates with fraudulent identities.

So much stuff to think about… and of course, the real challenge is to align actual assurance with the punters’ feeling of security.

On a tangent now, but wouldn’t it be cool if you could use your OpenID when signing an e-petition?

Two mentions of the W3C in one day. Who would have thought it

[1] I don’t think this is the plan in the current stage of development, but it would be an obvious extension.

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About Peter Cruickshank

Lecturer in the School of Computing and a member of the Centre for Social Informatics at Edinburgh Napier University, Scotland. Interested in information systems, learning, politics, society, security and where they intersect. My attempts at rounding out my character include food, cinema, running, history and, together with my lovely wife, bringing up a cat and a couple of kids.
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