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Digital Identity Top 10

By Gavin, 8th February 2006

Went to Cory’s talk on yet more digital rights management attempts. Can’t help thinking that either (1) this will be far too complicated to create and market successfully or (2) if it works, we consumers deserve everything we get. I hope for (1) of course.

The no2id folks are also doing sterling work – faxyo^D www.writetothem.com now as the vote is this coming Monday.

So, summarising our impending “Digital Identity Top 10”, we have;

1)
ID cards that have your ten fingerprints, retinal scans of both eyes and “facial features” – all as part of a system that logs this and every location you ever live, and every time *anyone* checks your identity. From what I understand information is stored on the card and in a “central government database”. So, not so much ID protection as a great potential to be mis-identified (how would you prove your ID if the system ‘got it wrong’, how would you “opt out”) and great potential for fraud (no database is secure, especially ones operated by humans).

Then you must assume that although “optional”, banks, letting agencies, mobile phone companies and the local video store will all insist on your ID card presence to let you do anything (I just rented a flat and they ran an *Experian* check for goodness sake).

2) Mobile phones already disclose your physical location and are used by Social Security to track benefit offences

3) Every single car journey in the UK will be monitored by the government.

4) Your credit and debit card transactions can be monitored to place you and what you purchased

5) Oyster cards disclose every tube/bus journey you make (and although “optional”, if you buy a paper ticket it’s TWICE the price – £3 for a single)

6)
Your store cards store your whole shopping profile, they know what you eat (as does anyone who buys the store)

7) RFID tags in retail goods, cars, even pets disclose their presence and communicate or are trackable with other devices

8) They are ‘digitising’ the whole Criminal Justice system (an ad for the “Information Officer” was just in the Sunday Times) and Health systems

9) DRM will track and restrict how, when and where you can consumer your music, video and TV in ways you cant begin to imagine

10) and the lovely interweb already has your IP address logged and the Google/Flickr/Internet archive keeps a copy of anything you publish (for ever).

(oh and remember the USA takes your fingerprints and retinal scans when you enter the country)

Draw your own conclusions, but is there anything left to monitor short of sticking a webcam to your retina and microphones in your ears?

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