Dan Callahan is part of the Identity Team at Mozilla who are trying to solve some of the problems of privacy and security on the Internet that have been hitting the headlines recently. Dan works on the Mozilla Persona project, a system to both replace passwords with verified identities and put that verification under user control, rather than the control of large corporate entities.
Today's "social sign-ons" as offered by Facebook, Google, Twitter and others, offer users a fast, password-free login experience across sites, but have a significant problem. As Dan puts it, "The cost there is that I have to send all of my data, all of my logins through some central third party, usually an American advertising company. We think we should be able to find a way to give you the same login experience as Facebook or Google, but with the ability to still choose who you are."