IdentiScape: identifiers for personal mobility

From: Jim Whitehead (
Date: Thu Apr 05 2001 - 15:16:53 PDT
Petros Maniatis and Mary Baker, "IdentiScape: Tackling the Personal Online
Identity Crisis." Technical Report CSL-TR-00-804, Stanford University, June


Traditional systems refer to a mobile person using the name or address of
that person's communication device. As personal communications become more
diverse and popular, this solution is no longer adequate, since mobile
people frequently move between different devices and use different
communications applications. This lack of identiers for mobile people causes
problems ranging from the inconvenient to the downright dangerous: to locate
a person, callers must use potentially multiple email addresses, cell phone
numbers, land line phone numbers or instant messaging IDs; callers leave
sensitive messages on shared voicemail boxes; and they send communications
intended for the previous owner of a telephone number to the next owner. To
solve this naming problem, we should be able to name people as the ultimate
endpoints of personal communications, regardless of the applications or
devices they use.

In this paper, we develop a naming scheme for mobile people: we derive its
requirements and describe its design and implementation in the context of
personal communications. IdentiScape, our prototype personal naming scheme,
includes a name service which provides globally available identi ers that
persist over time and an online identity repository service which can be
locally owned and managed.

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