“Got kitesurfing on the mind, mixed with some search & classification tech, and a dab of political ranting”

Identity or lack thereof online, why does it have to be so?

Posted by direwolff on July 26, 2006

Just read an interesting post on titled “Identity is dead. Get over it.”, by Sean McGrath. It is an interesting quote lifted from something Scott McNealy apparently said. The quote itself is something I’ve been thinking about lately because the fact is that mainting one’s privacy and/or anonymity in today’s world is actually very very expensive and getting more and more impossible to do. What would it cost to rent a car or a hotel room without a credit card? Most car rental agencies and hotels won’t even consider doing this, but I’m sure if you laid down the price of the car in cash they’d make an exception (not sure how much hotels would consider being enough for a room). Even in the cash only world you’d have established, how do you get that cash, since ATM transactions would maintain transaction records in your name and ATM cards are generally co-branded by the card associations (Visa & Mastercard) and dubbed debit cards (which process through similar networks as the credit cards). Hmmm…

OK, let me put that aside for now, what really iritates me these days is the fact that every Web site or Web service requires a new user name & password. For Pete’s sake!!! I’m not suggesting that they give up on registering members, but can’t sites begin to agree on standards for logging in to their services. I mean how many times must companies develop or integrate user authentication services before someone figures out that this is not a critical component of the businesses they operate. There are solutions floating around like inames and SXIP Identity which are making headway here, but why aren’t all Web masters jumping aboard one of these bandwagons? Why all of the resistance? How much disdain do Web masters have for their constituents to constantly require them to confirm e-mail registration notifications. Well, I for one look forward to the day where this madness ends.

OK, two rants for the price of one post. In coming to terms with the constant public policy, governmental and industrial challenges to what was once thought to be our private information, I’m also realizing that the tools we’re provided online to manage our identities suck! I continue to keep my eye on the advances being made by the AttentionTrust and various other services out there, but it seems like all of the initiatives being discussed and debated are running way behind the policies which are destroying our last remaining rights to anything private.


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