Single SignOn Compared to Welcomer

The world of personal electronic identity is dominated by the idea of an Identity. A person's electronic identity is a single thing. Within a single organisation it is expressed by the idea of Single Signon.  Across multiple organisations it expresses itself as OpenId.

Welcomer has a different world view.  In the Welcomer world a person's electronic identity is the sum of their electronic relationships.  In each relationship a person has an ID. But, the ID is not an Identity. 

A recent discussion with a government official highlighted the difficulties of explaining Welcomer. The following summarises the conversation.  SSO is the traditional idea of identity and encompasses both SSO and OpenID. 


With SSO personal information moving between organisations needs an explicit agreement between organisations.  

With Welcomer an individual has separate agreements with each organisation. The individual moves their personal data between organisations. This requires no agreement between organisations.


With SSO privacy regulations means governments never release personal data. 

With Welcomer organisations enter into confidentiality agreements with individuals. These confidentiality agreements apply to both parties. This means either party can release data with agreement.  Doing this means compliance with existing privacy regulations.

Single Source of Truth

With SSO an organisation requires a single source of truth for any personal attribute. This implies the most efficient arrangement is for a person to have a single identity.

With Welcomer an individual has a separate ID for each application they use.  There is no one single source of truth or identity. Rather the individual links the same data elements across applications. This means an individual's Identity is the sum of their application connections.

Improving the user experience

With SSO external organisations are not interested in agreements on shared data.  The same is true of Welcomer.

But, all organisations want to reduce the effort of individuals to identify themselves. They want to reduce the effort of individuals to enter common data.  This happens with the Welcomer approach. It is more difficult with SSO.