Internet ID

President Obama is spearheading a plan to boost web security by issuing American computer users with an Internet ID. The President has put the U.S. Commerce Department in charge of the cyber security initiative.

The Obama administration is drafting a paper called the National Strategy for Trusted Identities, which investigates ways that web users can protect their online identities. But Commerce Secretary Gary Locke was quick to reassure people that it wasn’t a guise for more big brother government.

‘We are not talking about a national ID card,’ he said at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.

‘We are not talking about a government-controlled system. What we are talking about is enhancing online security and privacy and reducing and perhaps even eliminating the need to memorise a dozen passwords, through creation and use of more trusted digital identities,’ he added.

Possible methods of creating a ‘trusted identity’ could include issuing a ‘smart card’ or digital certificates that would prove that online users are who they say they are. They could then be used to buy goods and carry out financial transactions on the Internet.

From Daily Mail by David Gardner | 10th January 2011

And an update…

The Obama administration said today that it’s moving ahead with a plan for broad adoption of Internet IDs despite concerns about identity centralization, and hopes to fund pilot projects next year.

At an event hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C., administration officials downplayed privacy and civil liberties concerns about their proposal, which they said would be led by the private sector and not be required for Americans who use the Internet.

There’s “no reliable way to verify identity online” at the moment, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said, citing the rising tide of security threats including malware and identity theft that have grown increasingly prevalent over the last few years. “Passwords just won’t cut it here.”

A 55-page document released by the White House today adds a few more details to the proposal, which still remains mostly hazy and inchoate.

It offers examples of what the White House views as an “identity ecosystem,” including obtaining a digital ID from an Internet service provider that could be used to view your personal health information, or obtaining an ID linked to your cell phone that would let you log into to view payments and file taxes. The idea is to have multiple identity providers that are part of the same system.

Administration officials plan to convene a series of workshops between June and September of this year that would bring together companies and advocacy groups and move closer to an actual specification for what’s being called the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace, or NSTIC.

Left unsaid was that the series of workshops, which will be open to the public, will give the proposal’s backers a chance to downplay concerns that it could become the virtual equivalent of a national ID card.

During his speech, Locke lashed out at the “conspiracy theory set” who have criticized the proposal. A column in, for instance, called NSTIC a “great example of rampant, over-reaching, ignorant, and ill-conceived political foolishness.”

CNET by Declan McCullagh | 15th April 2011

Personally, I do not think politicians should be allowed to use the words ‘conspiracy theory’ considering it is not paranoia to believe that what a politician is saying might be a flat out lie, or that they misuse programs and systems of laws. Tricky Dick claimed that he was not a crook. George W. claimed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Look at how many disgraced politicians have hit the headlines over the years:

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger – The Sperminator – Schwarzenegger fathered a child with his maid while married to Maria Shriver. The child was born just five days after his and Maria’s was born. The maid continued to work for him for 14 years.

Eliot Spitzer – Governor’s Got Game, Money & Some Pretty Good Taste – The New York Times reported on March 10, 2008 that the democratic Governor had patronized a prostitution service called Emperors Club.

Larry ‘The Leg Reacher’ Craig – Arrested for lewd conduct in the men’s restroom at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. He later resigned from being senator of Idaho.

Randy Duke Cunningham – Resigned from the US House of Representatives in 2005 after pleading guilty to bribery, admitting taking bribes of at least $2.4 million from at least three defense contractors in exchange for government business. This is the highest known amount of congressman has ever taken.

Christopher Lee – From Shirtless on Congress to Scared Shitless on Craigslist – resigned suddenly after a scandal broke over e-mails and a shirtless photo of him on Craigslist. Supposed it was sent to a woman in response to a dating ad on the site.

John Edwards – Amid all the celebrity sex tapes—Paris Hilton, Tommy Lee, Kim Kardashian—everyone stood in line to see John Edwards mouth-pleasing his pregnant woman… except she was not his wife. Edwards engaged in the extramarital affair with a filmmaker hired to work his campaign, Rielle Hunter. Oh, and the relationship produced a child.

Jim McGreevey – The Hiding Homosexual – McGreevey resigned as New Jersey’s governor on November 15, 2004. He claimed that he had engaged in an adult consensual affair with another man. He apologized to his wife and family.

Mark Foley – “Paging Young Boys” – Breaking in September 2006, this scandal centers on e-mails and sexually suggestive instant messages sent by Foley, a republican congressman from Florida, to teenaged boys who had formerly served as congressional pages.

Mark Sanford – Sanford Is Done – After a slight disappearance, the South Carolina Governor reported that he had been in Argentina with a woman with whom he was having an extramarital affair.

The list goes on and on, however, at an attempt to save some trees we decided it best to reduce the list.

A guy like Locke should think before he speaks but that is asking too much from a government man. We are supposed to have faith in the system and believe that our leaders of the nation will lead without corruption. Unfortunately, this is simply not the case. Corruption runs deep in all politics, flowing ever so rapidly. Therefore it is not crazy to question what ills Big Brother could possibly do with our alleged private information. I wonder how many bills, laws and policies were drafted and signed by the ill ink of corrupt politicians. Conspiracy theory? No, just common sense. These people we entrust are the zookeepers to our information.

You never know, maybe the time will come one day when the government will issue e-mail addresses based on our Internet ID numbers. If the paranoia grows even further perhaps our cell phone numbers will become issued for permanent use.

Airlines now want full dates of birth. Why? Who knows? But it is probably only a matter of time until they want our social security numbers. And in truth I have no issue with this one. It’s an object flying in the sky… I say check out everyone who flies.

The fact of the matter is that you need to approach your digital life with caution and adopt the principles of a warrior preparing for battle. The commodity or land at stake is your information, and my friends, the enemy wants it all – either to profit, control or both.

All of us who own a social security number have a credit report looming somewhere in the credit bureaus and that information is used to profit and make judgments for or against you. We have become digitized beings. We are not ourselves anymore. We are credit cards. We are Facebook. We are the digital life forms defined mainly by those nine evil numbers. Your digital report will soon be available… just you wait and see. What will yours read?

“I believe there is something out there watching us. Unfortunately, it’s the government.”   Woody Allen