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Exploring the science and magic of Identity and Access Management
Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Mistaken Identity

Author: Mark Dixon
Monday, August 15, 2005
5:36 am

: "Based on error; wrong: a mistaken view of the situation."

In the fall of 1976, there were at least two Mark Dixons besides myself attending
Brigham Young University. The problem was that
the other Mark Dixons were single. I was newly married. On numerous occasions, we
would get interesting telephone calls from young ladies wanting to talk to "Mark
Dixon, please". My new bride took it all in stride, believing me when I
assured her that these young ladies wanted to talk to the other Mark

One day we received a perfumed letter from a young girl in Salt Lake City inviting
"Dear Mark" to accompany her to a formal dance at her high school.
Not knowing the right address for the Mark Dixon she wanted to reach, we traced
her return address to her home phone number, and talked to her Dad! He got quite
a kick out of his daughter’s exploits. I’m sure she was duly embarrassed to
learn she had sent the letter to the wrong address!

Like my recent horse
, we must be sure that Identity attributes are sufficient,
durable and measureable
to uniquely identify someone.

Applying this principle to the Identity Management world, Ken Weiss of Charles Schwab & Co. put it this way (in large, bold letters) at the recent Catalyst conference:
"There is no substitute for a consistently applied
opaque unique identifier.


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