Actually, we’re taking away information from Discourse and keeping it securely within McNeel now.
I have forgotten that the idea of single sign on is brand new to many of you. Let me see if I can explain how it works.
But first, a bit about “your private data into their database”.
https://accounts.mcneel.com is a web site and database system written and maintained by McNeel. It has nothing to do with Discourse or the Discourse team. McNeel Accounts is an authentication system. Authentication is the process of determining that something or someone is who they say they are. This process is technically complex and involves lots of cryptography.
Our goal with McNeel accounts is simple: to provide you with one place to have a username and password to access everything McNeel related. To do that, we need an authentication system that can work with other web sites and software. That’s why we chose OpenID Connect - it’s a protocol designed by Microsoft, Google, and others to securely authenticate users.
We migrated your account information from discourse.mcneel.com to accounts.mcneel.com so that we wouldn’t have to explain to everybody how to set up new accounts to log in.
When you visit discourse.mcneel.com and click Log In, a conversation is started between you, the Discourse server, and McNeel accounts. The entire conversation is encrypted, and the only place your password is ever entered is on McNeel Accounts (unless you’ve linked a Google or Facebook account, and in that case, McNeel Accounts doesn’t ever see your password). If you want to know more about the details of the conversation, you can watch this video.
At the end of the conversation, discourse.mcneel.com ends up with a few bits of information about you - encrypted over HTTPS and digitally signed to verify authenticity: your email address, user name, full name, a link to your avatar, and your McNeel Accounts ID (a big random number).
This process communicates to discourse.mcneel.com “McNeel Accounts declares that he person on this computer is who they say they are” and so discourse.mcneel.com then gives you access to your account, your ability to post, and your profile.