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Debate at the intersection of business, technology and culture in the world of digital identity, both commercial and government, a blog born from the Digital Identity Forum in London and sponsored by Consult Hyperion



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13 posts from February 2007

Convenience is a winner

By davebirch posted Feb 26 2007 at 9:42 AM

[Dave Birch] Whatever security experts might think about RFID, the general feeling is (I think) that consumers will accept the technology if it delivers convenience.  A recent Canadian survey reinforces that feeling.  Three quarters think that the main advantageof RFID is saving time and just over half expect it to make their shoppingexperience easier.  That's not to say that they don't have concerns.  They do.  But the main concern, for 70% of consumers, is that RFID might not work properly while only 40% worry about security, privacy, or safety.

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Didn't there used to be jokes about mobile phones like this?

By davebirch posted Feb 25 2007 at 6:31 PM

[Dave Birch] Remember the Mu chip from Hitachi?  It was a very small RFID chip. Well, they're looking a little clunky now that the company has introduced new versions that are that are 0.002 inches by 0.002 inches and look like bits of powder. They're thin enough to be embedded in a piece of paper, according to company spokesman Masayuki Takeuchi.  The latest chip, which still has no name, is 60 times smaller than the Mu-chip but can handle the same amount of information, which gets stored as a 38-digit number, according to Hitachi.  Sounds very cool, but...

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Welcome to my nightmare

By davebirch posted Feb 22 2007 at 5:23 PM

[Dave Birch] No, not the old Alice Cooper favourite, but my first attempt to edit a book.  Specifically, a book about Digital Identity Management, based on presentations to the Digital Identity Forum.  It's now over a year late, but... and a drum roll is genuinely required here... it's finally on the way.  The proofs arrived from the publishers and the editing has been completed, so at last the Amazon entry can be read as a firm expression of intent rather than a whimsical testament to cheery over-optimism.  The book is now scheduled to be out by the end of March and, as was promised, all of the delegates to the 2005 Digital Identity Forum will be sent a copy free of charge.

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Open and shut case

By davebirch posted Feb 22 2007 at 8:10 AM

[Dave Birch] Earlier this week I went along to the Identity Society Open Space meeting up at the top of the BT Tower, which was fun because I'd never been up there before after all these years.  Unlike many people I was talking to at the meeting, I was never taken up it as a kid, before it was closed to the general public because of the threat of terrorism.  Anyway, the Open Space was very interesting even though I only had time to sit in on two of the discussion groups.  I first joined in with the group who were discussing what identity actually is, because I thought that would be a useful basis for further discussions, but in fact it served to remind me that there are many different viewpoints and that's one of the reasons why it's so difficult to create a rigorous model for digital identity. Then I sat in on discussion about whether you own your own identity which (setting aside the legal input to the discussion, which was that we hadn't agreed on what "you", "own" or "identity" meant) also led to enjoyable debate.

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Don't use pervert@gov.uk

By davebirch posted Feb 20 2007 at 4:04 PM

[Dave Birch] There's a real problem.  Perverts are using e-mail and instant messaging to contact children and lure them into dangerous situations.  Politicians need to find a solution -- one, naturally, that will attract good newspaper headlines but not involve actually having to learn anything about the dynamics of the (complicated) problem -- so they come up with an absolute corker.  Get perverts to register their e-mail addresses and IM names.  Home Secretary John Reid has also ordered work to be carried out, presumably by management consultants, on the feasibility of an online alarm system which would notify police every time a convicted paedophile used their registered details to log on to an internet chatroom, or any other site which could be used to "groom" victims.  Well, that's that taken care of then, on to world hunger.

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Holy Cow!

By davebirch posted Feb 20 2007 at 8:10 AM

[Dave Birch] This was an absolutely inevitable development. We spend a lot of time thinking about the identity of people, but the identities of animals (and things) are just as important to the future economy (and society).  Now that someone appears to have developed magnetic ink tattoos that can be read with a RFID reader, there's another building block in place for doing this.  There's also more pressure than ever to have some sensible and reasoned debate about the models for the deployment and use of such technology.

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By davebirch posted Feb 15 2007 at 9:58 PM

[Dave Birch] Biometrics expert Jim Wayman, who consults for the Australian, US and British governments, says that mobile phones and credit cards, not biometrics, are the main enemies for workers worried about geoslavery.  What an excellent word: I wonder if he invented it.  Jim goes on to say that "There may be large forces at work in Western society wishing to enslave the workforce. I want to acknowledge that fear, but [a biometric time/attendance system] is not part of this".  He says monitoring computer and phone usage are the "tools by which an employer would seek to enslave the workforce - it would not be done through biometrics".

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Now that's what I call a register

By davebirch posted Feb 12 2007 at 8:06 PM

[Dave Birch] The Chinese have just finished building their national ID register.  The National Citizen Identity Information Center recently announced that after five years of work, all 1.3 billion Chinese citizens have been organized into a database.  According to Xinhua News Agency, the system will be accessible to "relevant agencies", but citizen's privacy will be protected.  Much like the proposed UK national ID register, it will help prevent identity theft and related crime by giving citizens an identity number.  Apparently, though, it's also been the cause of much identity theft, because Chinese Internet users need their ID card number to use Internet cafes, to sign up for online games and so on.  Hence, there has been a roaring trade in phoney ID numbers.

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Get real

By davebirch posted Feb 11 2007 at 9:47 AM

[Dave Birch] At the RSA conference, Forum friend Toby Stevens from EPG was on a panel asking "Does Real ID really work?".  A quick primer: The US Real ID initiative aims to establishes a de facto national ID by establishing national standards for state driver’s licenses and ID cards. It mandates that states maintain accessible databases of documents used to establish identity but makes no provision for securing this data or controlling how data on the card is used.  So never mind "will it work", perhaps a better question is "will it be implemented".

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ID theft is down, or is it up, or do we know what it is anyway?

By davebirch posted Feb 8 2007 at 7:26 AM

[Dave Birch] Well, this is good news.  The losses associated with US ID theft has gone down 12% in recent months.  Even so, and bearing in mind that banks give customers their money back (generally), as George Tubin from TowerGroup notes, "Perception is very important... We've already seen the rise of financial fraud via e-mail pushing people back to using physical channels instead of Internet channels".   This, it seems to me, will have knock-on effects for a long time to come.  If public trust in online banking is undermined, it will be that much harder to encourage public trust in e-government, e-health and e-everything else.  Hence business and government have a legitimate interest in tackling this issue even if the financial losses are not keeping them awake at night.

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