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Digital ID World Conference 91

Denver is playing host to the Digital ID World conference, which is intended to discuss and examine the future of "digital identity" - how you'll be identified, tracked, and monitored online. Several people from the weblog community are in attendance and have reports available: Denise Howell, David Weinberger, Doc Searls.
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Digital ID World Conference

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  • by dildatron ( 611498 ) on Wednesday October 09, 2002 @01:06PM (#4417515)
    I hate to reference 1984, but it seems like the whole identity tracking thing sparks a lot of fear in a lot of people. It's not so much that we are all doing bad things and just don't want to be tracked, it's that the potential for abuse is high.

    And it's not just on computers, by any means. More and more I have noticed cameras on nearly every stop light, cameras in every parking lot, etc. I know what their intended purpose, but they can potentially be abused.

    I think most of us are pro-privacy, and I will sacrifice a bit of safety for personal freedoms. I just know how bad people abuse good things all too well.
    • Those aren't cameras, Parry...most traffic lights have small camera-like looking devices to pick up the strobes of police firetruck and ambulance - they change the lights to give them right of way. They look like cameras but they aren't. It's a common paranoid misconception. If you have real video cameras at every light, then you are probably living in London, England.. where nearly every block is under human and automated face recognition surveilance
      • No, they really are cameras. I am aware of what you are talking about, but where I am there are cameras in addition to the light-changing devices. It's for the transportation department somehow or another... but they are cameras.
  • by ites ( 600337 ) on Wednesday October 09, 2002 @01:09PM (#4417541) Journal
    Then it sucks.
    Being observed without the chance to watch back
    is one of the worst things I can imagine.
    At least when we lived in villages, and everyone
    knew everything about everyone else,
    things balanced out.
    But this vision of tracking humanity like so many pigeons
    is distasteful in the extreme.
    Nonetheless, it will happen sooner or later.
    Hopefully after I kick the bucket.
    • Yeah, it sucks. But it's also impossible in the long run because we know all about complexity and software and systems and we know they don't last. They break down. Anything man-made of even moderate complexity has a short lifespan. Anyone who has been involved in a large project knows it's ugly behind the curtain. Always bugs, always loopholes, always brittle, and in the end - run by regular people who are more worried about picking their kid up from school on time than anything else, etc. etc.

      I'm not worried for the long term, I'm worried about how the system will collapse. Privacy catastrophe. It always takes a big disaster to change people's minds. That's what really sucks, in my mind.
    • by nanojath ( 265940 ) on Wednesday October 09, 2002 @03:19PM (#4418645) Homepage Journal
      Oh you're exaggerating. You only have to be identified by the one number, six hundred three score and six, and you have the option of receiving the character on either your forehead or your hand!
  • by mustangdavis ( 583344 ) on Wednesday October 09, 2002 @01:13PM (#4417558) Homepage Journal
    I guess this devise would prevent guys from telling their date's parents that they are going to "the movies" ....

  • by gpinzone ( 531794 ) on Wednesday October 09, 2002 @01:13PM (#4417561) Homepage Journal you'll be identified, tracked, and monitored online.

    The post by Michael doesn't necessarily imply that Digital IDs are good or bad. However, most discussions here on Slashdot tend to demonize Digital IDs as an invasion of privacy. Consumers want Digital IDs so they can be securely identified when making purchases or logging into a computer network over the unsecured Internet. Do not confuse the issue of anonymity with identification schemes. The Internet currently has no such IDs or strict authentication, yet law enforcement can still track down perpetrators of illegal activity.

    What we want is the option of being completely secure or completely anonymous. Neither task is a simple one.
    • Consumers want Digital IDs so they can be securely identified when making purchases

      Why? Credit cards work fine.

      or logging into a computer network over the unsecured Internet

      Yes. SecurID works like a charm.

      So what's the need for something new that will surely add cost and reduce anonymity? I don't see it.

      • "Why? Credit cards work fine."

        They do? So credit cards are never used on the internet by people other then those to whom they where issued?

      • Credit cards are one of the most insecure methods for transactions. Think about it. The only security you have on you credit card is the credit card number.

        as soon as you make one online, over the phone etc purchase. Your number will be on a paper somewhere..Or the waitress/waiter copies the numbers down while settling your bill.

        .Security Ha?

        Its fucked

        • Add to the list that a lot of credit card machines actually print your number and expiration date on the recipt. People are very careless with their recipts. I know some who always leave the "customer copy" behind at restaurants, leaving the waitstaff/busstaff a nice printed card number that no one will miss and doesn't need to be snuck off, copied, and returned.

          Wal-Mart used to (and may still, I donno) print card numbers on recipts, and people are very careless with their Wal-Mart recipts. A guy could walk around the Wal-Mart parking lot picking up recipts and get quite a few card numbers fairly quickly.

          I try to keep my recipts and shred them when I get home. If I'm travelling, I fold the recipt so that the crease goes straight through the card number. Then I tear along the fold, tear up the remaining pieces, and throw them away.

          Of course, it would still be trivial for some malicious salesperson to get my number, but at least I'm not leaving printed copies around where ever I go.
    • by neurostar ( 578917 ) <neurostar @ p r i v o n .com> on Wednesday October 09, 2002 @01:36PM (#4417707)

      What we want is the option of being completely secure or completely anonymous. Neither task is a simple one.

      This is very true. Neither of them will be easy to attain. However, given the choice between the two, I would pick anonymity. I think that out of the two, it would be easier to remain anonymous than to have total security. Total security, for all practical purposes, is impossible. It is impossible to ensure that all the people who are watching us are doing the best job with the best intentions. The 'human factor' must be considered.

      Even if we do get a great amount of security at the cost of our anonymity, it the 'security' would most likely end up being worse than if everyone was anonymous or even worse than it is now. This flaw in security would result from the fact that someone who wanted to commit some crime, would find it easier to collect a large amount of information about a large number of people. The huge databases required on the path to 'total security' would facillitate this possibility.

      However, with anonymity comes separation. If we remain mostly anonymous, it is harder for criminals to get information on us. Law enforcement would still be able to protect us, as stated in the comment by gpinzone [], because they don't need to know anything about me, for example, to catch a criminal that stole my car or something.

      As an example from my personal life, I try and buy most of the things I get using cash. This is because of the simple fact that cash is anonymous. People can find out that I withdrew $40 from my bank account. But they can't find out what I spent the money on. That means I have the freedom to buy what I want without worrying about someone databasing what I buy. The database of things I buy could be used for something that is only annoying, like targeted advertising, or for something else, like planning a robbery.

      To sumarize, I feel we should strive for anonymity because it is safer and it doesn't compromise the ability of Law Enforcement to deal with criminals.

      • not only is cash anonymous for you the purchaser, it also puts no status restrictions on the seller.

        to accept creditcards or interac (i assume you have that in the states as well) the seller must:

        1. have legitimacy in the eyes of the state
        2. hav sufficient money to obtain approval form banks, the state &c.
        3. submit to scrutiny by the banks/state
        meeting these requirement excludes a large portion of society (usually the poorest and wekest part) from fulfilling the "seller" role. can you accept credit cards?

        while cash is good for the buyer (anonymous, fast &c.) it's impact on the seller is far more significant - not just in maintaining their anonymity but even just allowing them to fill the role of seller at all.

    • Fuck consumers. Consumers always want to be watched, tracked, recorded, told what to do, what to buy, say, vote for. Consumers are slaves. Consumers are entertainment sluts. "Scream for more!" Violence specialists. Consumers Keep the poor poor, the rich rich. and show off their suv's, or tricycles.

      yes I am one, and you are too.

      We are all slaves.

      Laugh at him they stare and scream...What freak shall we watch today...See him dance, see him Play. At the crowd he cries.

      I'm crying.

    • From the story: you'll be identified, tracked, and monitored online.

      I thought this was pretty funny: how matter-of-factly the author wrote the phrase. WE have a choice of course. We can choose not to participate in using the Internet any longer if it comes to that. "That was cool. Next."

      What Anonymity said:

      "Consumers want Digital IDs"

      Uh huh. WE ARE CONSUMERS. I'm a consumer, you're a consumer, our friends are consumers, our enemies are consumers. Do we all want digital IDs? NO! Get your ideas straight, man.

  • by conduit4 ( 589726 ) on Wednesday October 09, 2002 @01:17PM (#4417581)
    1100101100110: I'm grounded because my mom caught me surfing around some porn sites from her trip to Hawaii 1010110100111: LOL 1010110100111:Well, yesterday I was using my P2P program and so far today 10 record company execs have come to my house to make sure I didnt have and illegal music they owned on my computer. 1100101100110: Rough 1100101100110: the same thing happened to 0011001001100 last week.
  • by User 956 ( 568564 ) on Wednesday October 09, 2002 @01:17PM (#4417582) Homepage
    how you'll be identified, tracked, and monitored online. Several people from the weblog community

    Isn't having a weblog a way to be identified, tracked, and monitored online? Seriously, most of them consist of inane crap like "At 2:14 I ate a cheese sandwitch and watched Buffy reruns", and "I live in my parents' basement".
  • by SexyKellyOsbourne ( 606860 ) on Wednesday October 09, 2002 @01:19PM (#4417597) Journal
    The digital identity that will finally make it is an 18-digit code, split into three parts of 6 digits, embedded in a chip in the forehead or the right hand!

    Beware, the end times are near!

    More information can be found here: []
    • I hope so, if only so that after all you "I'm Christian, you're scum" bigots have been rapturized away to meet your maker (and burn in fiery hell for all eternity because you used the internet...) are gone the rest of us can see about actually getting some work done!
      • " I hope so, if only so that after all you "I'm Christian, you're scum" bigots " But you're being a bigot right back to him. You're just as bad as the ones you attack.If you want to prove a point be a better person than they can hope to deny, and still dont be a christian. That would blow them away.

        Good luck.

        • If you want to prove a point be a better person than they can hope to deny

          theists are incapable of recognizing ethical conduct and moral opinion since their "moral" code is little more than threat-avoidance/reward-driven behaviour (promises of heaven / threats of hell).

          behaviour that falls outside of this paradigm is judged exclusively as "bad".

          • Re:warning: biting (Score:3, Interesting)

            by nanojath ( 265940 )
            theist: one who believes in the existence of a god or gods

            atheists are incapable of recognizing ethical conduct and moral opinion since their "moral" code is little more than threat-avoidance/reward-driven behaviour (as their understanding of human conduct recognizes only evolutionary forces i.e. survival- and reproduction- inspired behavior).

            Although I fall into the very, very, very broad category of "theist" I don't actuall believe the statement immediately above. But you will find plenty of "theists" who will, in fact, assert that anyone who does not believe in a God or gods can only be a moral relativist. Why do they assert this? Because they are are judgemental dumbasses. And so are you.

            • atheists... understanding of human conduct recognizes only evolutionary forces i.e. survival- and reproduction- inspired behavior.

              so, any human activity other than fighting, eating or reproducing requires a belief in god? the implications are astounding.

              Because they are are judgemental dumbasses. And so are you.

              where's the judgement? if one performs a deed of good or evil while under duress we do not say that individual is acting out of anything other than self-interest. a donation made to a charity at gunpoint is not a "good" act. it's a self-preserving act.

              the sanctions that accompany the belief in any morality-dictating supernatural force (viz. god) is nothing more than duress or bribery motivating various activities.

              i fail to see what you find judgemental about that statement.

              • where's the judgement?

                The judgement, you humorless fuck, is in this:

                so, any human activity other than fighting, eating or reproducing requires a belief in god? the implications are astounding.

                What you basically do here is take my assertion - which is a nakedly obvious parody of your original assertion about theists - and act as if I mean it literally... even though I plainly state in the very next paragraph that "I don't actually believe the statement immediately above."

                But you ignored that. You ignore the fact that my statement "they are are judgemental dumbasses" refers to the kind of theist who would, if I may again quote myself, "assert that anyone who does not believe in a God or gods can only be a moral relativist."

                To put it another way, and hopefully improve the chances of my point penetrating your terminally softened brain, I am saying - follow along now - that THEISTS - that's people who believe in a God or gods - who would make the assertion that "atheists are incapable of recognizing ethical conduct and moral opinion since their "moral" code is little more than threat-avoidance/reward-driven behaviour" - are "judgemental dumbasses." The reason I believe this is because it would be a ridiculous and gross simplification of the universe of thought that comprises atheist and agnostic belief systems.

                You totally missed what I was saying, in fact you turned my statements completely upside down, reversing their meanings, because you DIDN'T LISTEN. You didn't read or try to understand what I was saying. Because YOU already knew what I thought, because I had identified myself as a "theist," thus placing myself in the company of other intellectual lightweights like George Washington Carver, Martin Luther King Jr., Blaise Pascal, Sir Isaac Newton, Leo Tolstoy, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Dag Hammarskjold, C.S. Lewis, Thomas Aquines, Dante Alighieri, Geoffrey Chaucer, Albrecht Duerer, William Shakespeare, John Donne, John Milton, Samuel Johnson, J.S. Bach, George Handel, Albert Schweitzer, Nicolaus Copernicus, Galileo Galilei, Johannes Kepler, Michael Faraday, Lord William Kelvin, John Adams, Pattrick Henry, and Desiderius Erasmus. And a host of other idiots like that. Theists, jeesh, wotta bunch of losers.

                What do you call a person who judges a person based on assumptions about their belief system rather than what they actually say?

                You call that person a judgemental asshole.

                You, sir, are a judgmental asshole.

                the sanctions that accompany the belief in any morality-dictating supernatural force (viz. god) is nothing more than duress or bribery motivating various activities.

                i fail to see what you find judgemental about that statement.

                Here is what I find judgemental about that statement, and I will cut it up into teeny tiny pieces on your plate so you stand a chance of getting it through your clenched-closed little mind. What is judgemental about that statement is that you take the billions of people who believe, in some capacity, in God or gods, and decide that you can, in one pithy statement, summarize ALL of our beliefs. We're all just running away from the punishment of hell or striving after the reward of heaven. To demonstrate what a ridiculous generalization this statement was, I restated it with a slight twist, making the gross generalization that without God, there was only evolution to believe in as the guiding force for human behavior, and therefor all behavior of atheists was guided by reproductive or survival instincts. Now, I'm really worried that you're going to get this wrong, so I want to make this totally clear: I DON'T BELIEVE THAT. I know, because I have an open mind and LISTEN to what people say, that there is a whole galaxy of ways to believe in the universe that do not involve the belief in a god. I do not consider these beliefs automatically invalid because they happen to differ in some respects from my own. I do not make gross, sweeping assumptions about their attendant beliefs based on only one factor of their beliefs (whether or not they believe in gods). Only a judgemental asshole would do that.

                Like you.

                Get it now? It is not your CONCLUSION I am dismissing as judgemental - it is your PREMISE. People like you are intellectually identical to the worst sort of bible-thumping, hellfire-n-damnation spewing fundamentalist: you're incapable of seeing past your own narrow beliefs.

    • I disagree with the chip idea. It's too obvious, and more importantly, it isn't terribly practical. Would an entity whose existence revolves around deception choose an obvious tool? I'd bet not. Instead of embedding ID chips, wouldn't it make more sense to use the IDs we already have -- retinal patterns and fingerprints? IMHO, this is what the "forehead" and the "right hand" represent. I also think that the whole "digital ID" concept is a ruse to distract everyone from the real deception -- identification by biological characteristics.

      Additionally, there isn't much point anymore in chanting "the end is near". People have been saying THAT forever. Remember the Millerites in 1844? You will know the end is near when everyone (the whole world) believes we are on the cusp of a new beginning. At that point, the deception will be complete, and the end will, ironically, be at hand.
  • to do with a system like this. In the USA most everyone has a social security number or dl number that you can be tracked by. A lot of people us the ss number as the dl number anyways. (I don't). It seems that there is already in place a sort of digital id since the afore mentioned keep there databases on computers anyways. Now we are going to have to deal with the DMV the social security office and the international id office. Who will have access to the new database that will be created? Where will it be located? Will there be anything put in place to stop abuse of this system? Any finally is there really a need for this?
  • by TerryAtWork ( 598364 ) <> on Wednesday October 09, 2002 @01:20PM (#4417602)
    1 - A way to absolutely prove who we are in order to buy stuff safely.

    2 - A way to absolutely hide who we are in order to score all that pr0n off the net safely....

  • Interac? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CodeTRap ( 176342 ) on Wednesday October 09, 2002 @01:26PM (#4417648) Homepage
    Your rights online. HAH! What about your rights offline?

    What I want to know is this. How much of my spending habits, (what I eat, drink, sleep on, sleep in, sleep with, all that information) how much of it does a company like Interac have? Or Visa, or MasterCard. When you make your puchases using that little pinpad, or any other form of electronic payment.. How much of that information is stored, analyzed, saved, used?

    You're all afraid of losing the ability to download free mp3's.. or surfing porn anonymously.. but. What about being able to buy groceries without big bro knowing what you eat? Or what movies you watch. Or where you were? How much of that electronic trail can be used to trace your movements? Who has the right to that information? What are they going to use it for?

    Do you think that your day cannot be traced by the purchases you make? Where you work? Traced with camera's throughout the city... I wonder who's made a game of watching you, just for practice.....

    • Re:Interac? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by KavitaDrake ( 614674 )
      It's not hard to envision the next step of purchase monitoring--you routinely buy too much junk food (the lifestuff of computer geeks) at the grocery store, and your health insurance rates go up because of your risk for obesity. Does anyone really think those little supermarket 'savings' cards are for your benefit?
    • how much of it does a company like Interac have?

      read your bank statement! mine (cibc) says great things like this:

      mac's milk address-of-store time $39.81

      so... they have a lot. micro purchases on interac can retrace yr location over the course of a day, month, year whatever.

      ... and yes, i actually spent $40 at macs. depressing, isn't it.

  • The site wants to set a cookie. Do you want to allow it?
    Not me!

    Then who?
  • No more anonymous posts! Now if you want to say stupid things, people will know who you are, where you live, what you ate for lunch, where you work, who's your boss, and if you sleep with your boss!

    Make's getting even pretty easy, wouldn't ya say?
  • The real problem (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 0ddity ( 169788 ) <> on Wednesday October 09, 2002 @01:45PM (#4417771)
    is the fact that something like this is needed in the first place. An international id is not going to be a fix for the lack of security we have in the world today. The only true solution is for people to start being honest. This system will be abused just like any other no matter how secure they try to make it.
  • Interestingly enouugh, the Digital ID site uses cookies...
  • My humble opinion. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by halftrack ( 454203 ) <> on Wednesday October 09, 2002 @01:53PM (#4417851) Homepage
    IMHO privacy and online identification is where it should be. The ISP's logs the connection between IPs and users (which they are unwilling to give away) and there is a fair level of audit where only IPs are logged.

    When it comes to privacy it is right where I wan't it, in my own hands. If I give out too much information it's my own fault. What is important is to educate the wast majority of Joes and Janes how to separate the trustworthy from the untrustworthy, when your name is A. Nonymus and where to put your spam-reciever-e-mail address.

    Of course IP logs can be cracked or sold (very rare) by dishonest ISPs, but then again taking a crack on a larger (be privat or government run) database with private information would probably (for those who enjoy such foolishnes') be more fun and profitable. And when it comes to my father, mother, brother and sisters someone ought to teach them where it is okay to give up their private information and which services never to trust.
  • And how do they prove that they are who they say they are. A Voice, A handshake, all far too easy to fake.

    This is a conference of shysters, real digital ID people would have just sent a smart card with their ID and an encrypted version of the presentation.
  • American People Shrug, Line Up For Fingerprinting
    WASHINGTON, DCAssuming that there must be a good reason for the order, U.S. citizens lined up at elementary schools and community centers across the nation Monday for government-mandated fingerprinting. I'm not exactly sure what this is all about, said Ft. Smith, AR, resident Meredith Lovell while waiting in line. But given all the crazy stuff that's going on these days, I'm sure the government has a very good reason. Said Amos Hawkins, a Rockford, IL, delivery driver: I guess this is another thing they have to do to ensure our freedom.

    from the Onion [].
  • Why does everyone scoff at digital ids? Large corporations ask you to wear a badge everywhere. They do a background check before giving you a job, and you can be tracked as long as you are within their domain.

    The real issue with Digital IDs is that your trail can be traced all over the map. That's not something anyone wants. I want to be authenticated, but not by using the same digital id everywhere. There should be public domain websites (where nothing is logged) and private access websites (where I need to present digital ids).

    My not so much as $0.02 worth

  • The way I see it: Assuming all bank accounts, ID's and records are referenced against a chip in the skin or ID no.: No system ever achieves 100% accuracy. In many industries, an acceptable accuracy is defined as anything within 6 sigmas of deviation. This translates into roughly 2 "mistakes" per million parts, or cycles, whatever. That being said, there are approx. 6 billion people in the world. If whoever administrates such a DB (a scary thought in itself) accepts "6 sigma" quality, then this means up to 12,000 people get screwed at any one time, because every transaction is subject to variation. The jist of what I am saying is that I don't want my child denied medical access because of normal, UNAVOIDABLE variation. In short, "Keep It Simple, Stupid". Sometimes analog is better.
  • "the Digital ID World conference, which is intended to discuss and examine the future of 'digital identity' - how you'll be identified, tracked, and monitored online."

    Why don't they just monitor everyone at the ID Conference? They seem to be the only people that want it.
  • In order to have something approximating complete privacy, one must be outside the realm of tracking databases. What is the key element within the United States that is used for this purpose? The SSN.

    Fortunately (or not, as the case may be), only aliens applying for permanent residency are required to get an SSN; reference 42 USC 405(c)(2)(B)(i)(I). Otherwise, one must apply for an SSN in order to obtain or retain benefits payable in federal funds; reference 42 USC 405(c)(2)(B)(i)(I). If one is a citizen, and require no federal funds, then one is not required to make application.

    One thereby is denied, in many states, the benefice of driver's licenses (can't get one here in Pennsylvania). Funny, the statutes say that within 30 days, one must apply for a D/L. I did, and was refused. Evidently, a "resident" is a person who has an SSN. Check Vattel's Law of Nations to see that Citizens and Residents are two very different people.

    Credit cards? Not a problem, I have several. I only use a particular one for online purchases, and the other is earmarked for emergency purchases. Haven't had to use that one in quite a while. Always pay off the former each month.

    I guess I am tracked to a certain extent by this, but what do they use to co-ordinate the information with other databases? The SSN? Sorry, ain't got no.

    Medical databases, ditto. In order to get life insurance, I had to get a complete physical and submit that, because I am not found in their medical databases.

    Bank accounts? I have several. There is only a requirement for an SSN if they are going to report interest paid. I do not have any interest bearing accounts.

    I do not make deposits (except the initial one, against which I cash checks), I do not make withdrawls (ever, as I retain these accounts as I move). I guess they could track the checks that are cashed against the account, but at which account? At which bank? How are they going to co-ordinate the information? No SSN.

    Credit report? Don't need one. I don't apply for credit. I take the offers they send in the mail and return them with "Citizen - NONE" in the SSN space, and they must give me a card, after all, I am pre-approved.

    If they do not, it is religious discrimination.

    You see, if I am not required to have an SSN by any federal law, and if they were to impose a restriction upon me because I have no SSN, then the SSN must be (at least the precursor) to the mark of the beast. Revelation says "in the right hand" as though showing ID, and "in the forehead" as though reciting from memory. The language does not connote a tatoo or something like that.

    With regard to the privacy that one will not be afforded in the future, I can only say: There has to be a way.

    Let's take cameras everywhere. If they are private cameras and there is notice that you are being recorded, then you organize a boycott. If they are public cameras, then you have to be able to show that they are taking your property for public use, and thereby must compensate you. The only question is how to substantiate that which they are taking and what use is being made.

    I'll let you know when I have that figured out.
  • by B.D.Mills ( 18626 ) on Wednesday October 09, 2002 @07:34PM (#4420553)
    The Romans had a good saying here - Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

    I cannot trust someone I cannot see or don't know guarding my personal information. Chances are they will sell it to all willing to pay, including those whom I would prefer not to have it. Many ISP's already do this, and they will keep on doing it.

    So who's keeping an eye on these silent watchers? Nobody. And this is wrong.

%DCL-MEM-BAD, bad memory VMS-F-PDGERS, pudding between the ears