Personal identity (was: AOL Blackmail)

Karl Anderson kra at
Sun Apr 27 14:42:36 PDT 2003

"Russell Turpin" <deafbox at> writes:

> In my view (sitting in the corners as I do), the
> personal identity problem is one of the bigger
> data processing problems that goes unsolved. The
> most obvious aspect of this problem is updating
> your contact list when one of your hard-bound
> addresses changes, or conversely, trying to find
> out how to contact an old acquaintance when you
> discover that their old addresses no longer
> resolve.
> A first cut at a solution is a webservice that
> (a) assigns anyone who requests it a public
> encryptiong key, PK, which also acts as a
> permanent identity, (b) allows the owner to
> maintain a list of addresses, an XML file will
> work nicely, and (c) returns that list to any
> requestor. Your PK gets passed to all your
> acquaintances whenever you send them email, beam
> them an ecard, etc. Contact management software
> then uses the PK to update contact information
> as it changes.

I still want to receive mail from strangers, though.  Sometimes even
if my computer doesn't think that what they say is interesting.
That's the appeal of hashcash - if someone made an effort, I might
want to listen.

Maybe we could combine the two.  A webservice could sell charity
identities - buy a ten minute PK for a dollar, half of that goes to a
worthy cause.

Karl Anderson      kra at 

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