Yahoo Backs OpenID Scheme

Dennis Faas's picture

Yahoo has signed a deal to add all existing Yahoo usernames and passwords to the OpenID database. When a Yahoo user visits one of the 10,000 sites in the scheme, they will be able to simply type '' in the registration box and will then be taken to the Yahoo site to confirm their details before being returned to their chosen website, automatically logged in. (Source:

People with a Yahoo account could find online life a bit simpler now that the firm has joined the OpenID scheme. However, critics question whether the scheme serves any real purpose.

The idea lets Internet users signed up to one site automatically use their existing username and password on all other sites involved. This means they won't have to type in details such as email addresses and dates of birth every time they register with a new site.

Because of the way OpenID is set up, there is no central database of personal details. Each user's details are stored on whichever member site they first signed up with (such as Yahoo) and are covered by the privacy and security systems of that particular site.

The OpenID scheme is the work of Brad Fitzpatrick, the man behind the LiveJournal blogging site. Indeed, LiveJournal is probably the most well-known site signed up to the scheme. The biggest problem with the plan is that most major websites aren't involved, so it wouldn't make a significant difference to most people's daily surfing.

There's also a slightly increased security risk. Experts advise Internet users to have different log-in details for different websites. If a hacker either guessed or stole the log-in details of somebody signed up to a site in the OpenID scheme, they could potentially access many sites using that information. (Source:

The Yahoo involvement is an important step for the scheme, but without the likes of eBay, Google, Hotmail, and Amazon being involved, it's unlikely to have any real effect.

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