Greetings. This New York Times piece:http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/06/nyregion/06myspace.html
gives an excellent overview of efforts now in progress in various
states to require verified ID before allowing anyone to sign-up for
"social networking" sites like MySpace, and the impacts these could
potentially have on all manner of Web sites.
In particular, the article notes the view that such efforts would be
impractical and could even do more damage by pushing children (the
group these laws would ostensibly protect) toward other sites
completely under the radar. The article also recognizes that
requiring ID (most likely a credit card) would then provide
networking sites (or their third-party subcontractors) with a direct
linkage to all users' true identities that could be subject to later
exploitation and abuse.
While we all want to protect children, these ID-based models will
not do so, and indeed will bring with them a whole host of other
How long will it be before some bright boys inside the Beltway get
the idea of requiring that *all* Internet usage be tied to verified
IDs? This would fit in just dandy with the mandated data retention
push, COPA, and the other efforts to turn the Internet into an ever
more purpose-built computerized arm of law enforcement.
Wanna use Google? Verify your ID first, please, so retained records
can be retroactively tied to you at any point in the future by
Too dark a scenario? Couldn't happen? Do you really want to bet
against me on this one given current trends?
Of course, we can still turn the tide, working together as consumers
and Internet service providers alike. We can tell the politicos
that enough is enough. But will we? Or will it be business
Place your bets.
email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel: +1 (818) 225-2800http://www.pfir.org/lauren
- People For Internet Responsibility - http://www.pfir.org
- International Open Internet Coalition - http://www.ioic.net
- California Initiative For Internet Privacy - http://www.cifip.org
Founder, PRIVACY Forum - http://www.vortex.com
Member, ACM Committee on Computers and Public Policy
Lauren's Blog: http://lauren.vortex.com