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OpenSkills Identity Matrix

Think of the Identity Matrix as picture of all the current OpenPGP keys of OpenSkills account holders, and how they are linked together. i.e.:

Low res example of the Identity Matrix

This image is just a low resolution example (but you can click on it for a bit more detail). We have a number of different views of the Identity Matrix, each named after the algorithm used to create them (springgraph, neato, dot, twopi, circo and fdp). If you want to see the detail clearly, have a look at an SVG or PS file from the list of all images and pick the view you like the best.

Note: If you have the latest version of the Firefox web browser, the SVG images should displayed by the browser without you needing to install any special plugins. Using Firefox you will be able to zoom into any part of the image and scroll about to see all the details.

The images are updated every day.

Want to see your key in the Identity Matrix?

Simply add your OpenPGP key to your account via your My Account page and get your key signed by someone who already appears in the Identity Matrix. Easy!

To be a member of OpenSkills you'll need to have a registered key, and the key must be signed by two existing members. If your key appears in the matrix, and there are two or more arrows pointing at your key, you are probably eligible for membership if you are a current subscriber.

The details

If you want to know how we make the images, see the Identity Matrix Implementation page.

In the images, a bubble (or box) represents an OpenPGP public key. Each key is held in small file, and in the same file are certificates.

Certificates are used for many things, but for the Identity Matrix we are interested in the certificates that indicate (very reliably) that one person has used their private key to sign another key. The lines in the Identity Matrix represent these certificates.

Look closely at one of the lines. Each end will touch a key. If there is an arrowhead pointing at a key, it means the the key has been signed by the key at the other end of the line ... so the arrow points from the key used to do the signing to the one which is signed. If there are arrowheads at both ends of a line, that means that the keys have signed each other.

So, the Identity Matrix is the graph of the keys of OpenSkills account holders connected by certificates (signatures). A graph of keys like this is called a Web of Trust (Wikipedia).

It is important to understand that while a line in the Identity Matrix does show that one key owner has identified another, it says nothing about how well one person knows another. So while a certificate (line) in the Identity Matrix is a strong indicator of identity, it says nothing about the quality of a relationship, or the quality of either key holder. You must satisfy yourself of the integrity of any party you do business with, even if they are in the IdentityMatrix.


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