Big Business Hearts Big Government.
Driver's licenses for the Internet
I just went to a panel discussion about Internet security and let me tell you, it was scar-y. Between individual fraud, organized crime, corporate espionage and government spying, it's an incredibly dangerous world out there, which, according to one panelist, is growing exponentially worse.
These are incredibly complex problems that even the smartest of the smart admit they don't have a great handle on, although Craig Mundie, Microsoft's chief research and technology officer, offered up a surprisingly simple solution that might start us down a path to dealing with them: driver's licenses for the Internet.
The thing about the Internet is that it was never intended to be a worldwide system of mass communication. A handful of guys, all of whom knew each other, set up the Web. The anonymity that has come to be a core and cherished characteristic of the Internet didn't exist in the beginning: it was obvious who was who.
What [Microsoft executive Craig Mundie] is proposing is to impose authentication. He draws an analogy to automobile use. If you want to drive a car, you have to have a license (not to mention an inspection, insurance, etc). If you do something bad with that car, like break a law, there is the chance that you will lose your license and be prevented from driving in the future. In other words, there is a legal and social process for imposing discipline. Mundie imagines three tiers of Internet ID: one for people, one for machines and one for programs (which often act as proxies for the other two).
Now, there are, of course, a number of obstacles to making such a scheme be reality. Even here in the mountains of Switzerland I can hear the worldwide scream go up: "But we're entitled to anonymity on the Internet!" Really? Are you? Why do you think that?
The truth of the matter is, the Internet is still in its Wild West phase. To a large extent, the law hasn't yet shown up. Yet as more and more people move to town, that lawlessness is becoming a bigger and bigger problem.
Entitled? No. We have the natural right to go about our business without people watching over us.
And btw, the so-called Wild West was anything but wild. Idiot. Did you study history by watching Hollywood movies? I digress ... None of this matters though, because Those Who Know Better think you're an idiot and don't trust YOU!
May I ask ... As a person perusing the Internet and reading this blog, do you feel you're surfing through a gangland and crime syndicate? Are you scared? Are monsters coming at you through the screen?
But wait! There's more! You didn't think the UN would stay out of this, did you?
UN agency calls for ‘driver’s license’ for Mundanes
International Telcommunications Union secretary general Hamadoun Toure gave his warning at a World Economic Forum debate where experts said nations must now consider when a cyber attack becomes a declaration of war.
With attacks on Google from China a major talking point in Davos, Toure said the risk of a cyber conflict between two nations grows every year.
He proposed a treaty in which countries would engage not to make the first cyber strike against another nation.
"A cyber war would be worse than a tsunami -- a catastrophe," the UN official said, highlighting examples such as attacks on Estonia last year.
He proposed an international accord, adding: "The framework would look like a peace treaty before a war."