[FoRK] Privacy? Obama doesn't think so...

Stephen D. Williams sdw at lig.net
Sun Jun 27 14:50:06 PDT 2010

On 6/27/10 1:56 PM, Reese wrote:
> On 27-Jun-10 15:30, Stephen D. Williams wrote:
>> On 6/27/10 10:50 AM, Jeff Bone wrote:
>>> Stephen says "eh."
>> Technically, I said: "Maybe 'eh', maybe 'Oh no!'. What was proposed in
>> that document by the administration could be nothing but good, depending
>> on integrity of implementation.
> But there's the rub. Even if it is implemented perfectly, the next
> government bureaucrat with oversight can turn it on its ear. Best
> to keep such things off of the books in the first place. Or explicitly
> prohibit them.
> Reese 

That document mainly endorsed an identity and trust ecosystem somewhat 
more complete and organized than the one we have with individual, 
business, and government acceptance.  Unless you want to destroy what we 
have now, re: credit unions / criminal background checks / SSN / 
driver's license / PKI certificates for people and web sites and 
government users / etc., it is hard to see how extending that a bit is 
totally wrong.  Potentially too far or abused, sure.

You want to avoid a police state, avoid malicious hacking of individuals 
or fraud, and prevent any abuse of people by someone in power based on 
anything but breaking the law in significant ways.  You do however want 
to know who's renting your house, working for you, running your nuclear 
reactor, etc.  You want to know that you can find the guy who just gave 
you a check or worked on your car.  That you are going to get that big 
ticket item you just paid for over the Internet.  And you don't want to 
have to bring a copy of every document you have with every bit of 
personal, and highly exploitable, information to do any of those 
transactions.  A key goal of that paper was to finish creating a system 
where you could supply what was necessary (yes, I am 18 / 21, yes, I am 
a US citizen, ...) without revealing more information.  You cannot do 
that in a completely anarchic system.  That was the part I found 
interesting: Getting a trusted attribute from a trusted attribute 
provider based on provable identity in a way that didn't reveal anything 
else is potentially very useful.  Using indirect methods, which exist to 
some extent now, the receiver never gets your actual identity at all.  
That could be the government not getting your actual ID from your 
commercial representative, a perfectly reasonable and possible outcome.  
Already, the government uses commercial systems and methods for commerce 
and reviewing trustworthiness of citizens.


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