Online services suffer 'identity' crisis

Security and privacy might top online consumers priority lists, but according to Gartner Group ‘identity services’ are a long way from meeting these basic needs.

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By  Zoe Moleshead Published  December 5, 2001

Security and privacy might top online consumers priority lists, but according to Gartner Group ‘identity services’ are a long way from meeting these basic needs. Gartner reveals a lack of trust among consumers for these identity services, which are designed to reduce the need for repetitive web site registrations.

"The sober truth is that although consumers are bothered by multiple user IDs and passwords, most consumers don't see much relative value in having one credential to navigate the Web," said Avivah Litan, vice president and research director, Gartner Group. "Consumers don't believe that the potential costs, such as sacrificing data privacy and encouraging online solicitations, are worth the benefits of saving time and gaining convenience."

The Gartner Group study found that 95% of respondents register with web sites, 54% do so because it is a requirement of the site, 22% register to save time, while 17% are looking for more personalised services as a result of registration.

Of the sceptical 5% which don’t register, 30% cite a lack of trust in giving personal and financial information to a web site, and 43% avoid registering to prevent solicitation.

The survey also found that although Microsoft has been first to market with its Passport services, of the 25 million users — most of which were automatically enrolled — only 7 million know how to use it, and less than 1 million have actually used Passport outside of the Microsoft site.

"Microsoft's online service competitors must launch their identity services quickly to prevent Microsoft from becoming the default primary gatekeeper of consumer Web-based experiences," said Litan.

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