Monday, January 30, 2006
Our Online Identity Crisis
Dick Hardt of Sxip.com makes a great argument for the need for a digital identification company to create an online counterpart to passports and drivers licenses. Instead of individuals filling out forms and using passwords at every commerce site, we would "show" a digital ID from a third party that would verify who were are to all of the sites that we visit.
The "Identity 2.0" is an important concept, but every potential organization that might handle this responsibility (banks, technology companies, government) has serious issues of trust to overcome.
The other issue how to protect this ID once it is established, and that's where encryption systems such as IBM's Anonymous Resolution project could come in handy. This "one way encryption" could create ID's that hide the details (address, phone etc) about individuals while verifying who the person is. IBM says the technology can be used to look for a person's match between databases anonymously.
Related to this is the ability to turn off our digital ID and sometimes surf anonymously, which the recent brouhaha over government and the search engines brought into the public eye. Services such as Anonymizer and the Tor effort could gain traction with consumers while driving marketers nuts by preventing demographic information from being collected.
This problem needs to be solved in the next few years to achieve a balance between Big Brother and personal privacy.
By John Gartner at 02:09 PM | Comments (0)