The Norwegian public service broadcaster needs to register users for comment and discussion services, access to geo-restricted video material and blogs among other things. The growth in user generated material, interaction with users and increased flow across NRK’s various content platforms raises the issue of a single sign-on system and the OpenID framework -which is an open, decentralised free framework for user-centric digital identity (quoting openID)- is considered to fulfill most of NRK’s needs.
OpenID can be implemented on two levels, you can choose to become a “relying party” relying on OpenID credentials coming from third parties, or you can go all the way and become a “provider”.
NRK has chosen to become a provider, seeing the need for a national provider with a certain size and level of trust. The general public in Norway has a high degree of trust in it’s national broadcaster (at last survey 95% found us “quite” or “very” trustworthy), and NRK finds it timely to leverage this trust for a common open sign-on system and sees it as a natural part of being a public service body in the 21st century.
Some notable users of OpenID are BBC, Yahoo, AOL, while Google f.i. has joined the OpenID foundation without yet implementing it.
NRK will probably be able to implement during fall 2008.
For more info on OpenID, there’s an article on the subject on Wikipedia. The article is unfortunately quite technical, we hope our erudite readership can help making it more readable.