August 26, 2007
Information Cards for OpenIDs

Sxip Identity just finished a draft specification that enables a really useful form of convergence between OpenIDs and Information Cards: presenting your OpenID as an Information Card you select rather than as a string you type. Johnny Bufu’s OpenID general mailing list note introduces this specification for community review.

This combination has several advantages over standard OpenID usage. First, there’s no OpenID string to type when you use your OpenID, which should make OpenIDs easier for more people to use. Second, this is a phishing-resistant authentication method. Finally, it lets you recognize and choose your OpenID visually, based on the card graphics supplied by the OpenID provider.

Sxip also backed this specification by a sample implementation, which you can check out at Now for some more details….

Here’s how it works: In this model, the OpenID relying party asks for an OpenID Information Card using an object tag on the page rather than having the user type the OpenID as a string (while probably also giving the user the option to instead type in the string for backwards compatibility). The user’s Identity Selector then lets the user choose which OpenID card to send to the site. The card transmits the actual OpenID string to the site as a claim. From that point on, standard OpenID protocol interactions ensue.

For instance, the sample relying party page asks you to “Login with an OpenID InfoCard” and requests the card using this evocative graphic:

OpenID InfoCard

Upon clicking the graphic, my identity selector is invoked, which shows me that I can use this OpenID Information Card at the site (which I’d previously obtained here):

Sxip OpenID InfoCard

After that, the sample performed a standard OpenID attribute exchange and the relying party greeted me with:

Welcome! You have logged in using your OpenID identifier.

Phone: (omitted)
Country: USA
City: Redmond
Address: One Microsoft Way, Building 40/5138
LastName: Jones
FirstName: Mike

Behind the scenes, the relying party had received this OpenID assertion:

<openid:OpenIDToken xmlns:openid="">openid.ns:
openid.ext1.value.attr5:One Microsoft Way, Building 40/5138

One final technical note that will be of interest to some of you: OpenID Information Cards do not use SAML tokens. They use one of two variants of openid:OpenIDToken tokens (depending upon whether the OpenID relying party uses OpenID 1.1 or 2.0 authentication).

Go get yourself an OpenID Information Card and give it a spin! Read and comment on the spec. Or even better yet, implement it and tell us about your experience!

5 Responses to “Information Cards for OpenIDs”

  1. Interesting Combination of OpenID and Information Cards « Identity Blogger on 27 Aug 2007 at 5:23 am #

    […] 27th, 2007 · No Comments From Mike Jones there is this post about a Sxip proposal to combine OpenID with Information Cards. I have only given it a cursory […]

  2. unverified claims » Blog Archive » OpenID Information Cards on 28 Aug 2007 at 4:29 pm #

    […] Mike Jones has more details on how OpenID Information Cards work. […]

  3. Mike Jones: self-issued » MyOpenID adds Information Card Support on 18 Oct 2007 at 4:07 am #

    […] We were able to work with Microsoft’s Mike Jones and Kim Cameron who have both been long time proponents of OpenID + Information Card support. […]

  4. Yahoo adoptă OpenID şi deschide calea spre unificarea ID-urilor | Blogul lui Viorel on 17 Jan 2008 at 6:04 pm #

    […] de autentificare personală, ÅŸi că această tehnologie are în spate un security token care e technology agnostic (OpenID, Kerberos, certifcate, etc). ÃŽn această arie, lucrurile păreau că se miÅŸcă în […]

  5. Mike Jones: self-issued » User-Centric Identity Interop at Catalyst in Barcelona on 07 Feb 2008 at 2:18 am #

    […] OpenID Information Cards to supply OpenIDs to OpenID relying […]

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