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Reader Comments on Aardvark Daily 9 September 2002

Note: the comments below are the unabridged submissions of readers and do
not necessarily reflect the opinions of the publisher.


From: Dennis
For : The Editor (for publication)
Subj: Online ID

I'd be happy to use an online ID card if it worked as you
suggest. I have nothing to hide and, if it came to it, I'm
sure there would be ways of remaining anonymous for
some 'net usage

From: Tom V
For : The Editor (for publication)
Subj: ID

"Would you accept some form of mandatory online ID system
if it meant an end to spam, kiddie-porn, credit-card fraud,
cracking, denial of service attacks, viruses and
cyberterrorism? "


I got an idea Bruce. What about we all carry mandatory
chips embedded under our skin that track our location at
all times. Would you support that in the interests of
stopping all crime?

After all you have nothing to hide....right?

From: David French
For : The Editor (for publication)
Subj: License to Surf vs "It wasn't me"

While not wishing to comment directly on the question that
you pose, I'll leave the
gnawing of that bone to others who will no doubt come up
with far better points for &
against than I can!

What does concern me is the prospect of "Identity Theft"
were this to become

How then could you prove “you were you”....
or “it wasn't me that” .....

Once the inevitable "hijacking" occurred
Especially were “the powers" not willing to accept that
this "hijacking" could, did or
even had occured.

My reasoning is driven by the fact that "The more valuable
the prize, the greater the
attraction that it has for those who either seek to gain or
devalue it"

Along the same vein as "Locks are for honest people, they
merely inconvenience the

From: Ben
For : The Editor (for publication)
Subj: On-line ID

Chill out for a minute Tom V and think about it. Ever used
Eft-Pos or an ATM..? Big Brother is watching you sometimes
whether you like it or not... Step up to an ATM and you'll
be monitored, and I damn well hope so. I wouldn't like to
have my money in a system that had no means of tracking
people that tried to break into it. I don't see why I
shouldn't be recognised and accountable for the information
I submit and request from the web, it's a small price to
pay for access to the biggest source of information on the
planet. Security restrictions will hamper some freedoms on
the web, but at least when you step away from that machine
you're back into your own little world and it's arbitrary
freedoms. The Matrix was just a movie, my friend.

Sure, with I.D. verification, I might not be so tempted to
post up my "Guy's who like to wear pantyhose" newsletter on
the net, but then there's always surface mail for that...
The web is a broadcast medium and those using it should be
able to be held accountable for their usage of it.

I don't advocate total control of humans' every day
activities, but live in a world of total freedom and you
would have total chaos, unfortunate but true. Maybe one day
the world will be an ideallic, peaceful place where
everyone lives in harmony and there's no crime. Until that
happens as far as I'm concerned, some rules are good rules.

Would you keep your money under your mattress...?

From: Brian Barlev
For : Right Of Reply (for publication)
Subj: Net Ids

Have to agree with Ben wrt Tom chillin', as it's surely all
a matter of degrees... ;o)

Having nothing "substantial" to hide myself, I'd go along
with the notion of some form of Net Id.

But only after appropriate legislation was in place
governing the extent and limitations upon its use by the
authorities. Without that established first after thorough
public debate and input, no way!

From: Don McKenzie
For : The Editor (for publication)

Fully in favour of mandatory on-line ID system.
A good thing, for sure

From: Megan
For : The Editor (for publication)
Subj: On-line ID

Dear Editor,

  There seems to be an assumption here that you'll either
be anonymous to everyone or noone.  I'm sure that there
are ways that you can be anonymous (or not)  to whom ever
you choose.

  An idea may be having a physical "key" (in essense the
equivalent of an ATM card) plus the usual username and
password that will identify you to who ever supplied you
the key. You could plug it into your usb port (and key in
username+password) when you want to make a secure
transaction on that website.

  The good thing is that you won't be tied to a specific
computer (the way Microsoft seem to be heading if I
understand things correctly).

  I'm sure there will still be issues with fraud (key
copying etc) but if the banks can live with ATM cards then
those issues must be well sorted! ;->

Aardvark Responds:
Unfortunately, in order to be an effective tool
against spam, porn, crime, cracking, etc, a
valid, authenticated ID would need to be an
essential part of all online activities.

What good is an ID if you can turn it off when
you want to commit a crime?

The law demands that we carry an ID card (AKA
drivers' license) every time we drive our cars,
to be effective, a Net license would have to
work in the same way with mandatory-carry.

From: Michael
For : The Editor (for publication)
Subj: Prerequisites

Do I think this system is politically feasible? (I.e. could
all the entities that will need to support it be convinced
to do so?)


Do I believe that, if it were implemented, this system would
prevent the evils listed?


From: Hamish MacEwan
For : The Editor (for publication)
Subj: No.

Actually, no, I wouldn't even if it meant all those vile
things were to end.

I think the benefits of anonymity to *us* (rather than the
selfish spin you have put on the matter) are of greater
value to the many who don't commit the vilenesses you
invoke, a number that it would do us well to recall is much
larger than the people who do bad things.

The freedom of anonymity in the hands of the good is able to
contribute to the reduction of many of those abuses.

Crimes can be reported, tips given, whistles-blown, judges
named, Government criticised...

So your question appears to me, "Would you impair the
freedom of good people to do things in order to restrain the
evil from doing wrong?"

And that is an old old bargain.

I think we know by now the notion of a flawless mechanism of
identification will never exist, nor bring to pass the
benefits you are discussing.  In the meantime the cost of
botched identification is high.

I think it was LBJ who said something about considering not
only the good that legislation will achieve if implemented
correctly, but also the damage it may inflict if abused.

Power corrupts, absolutely.

Anyone who wishes to can enter into any number of
cryptographic identity communities, and be protected no
doubt from persons outside that community, perhaps even have
a virtual firewall/gatekeeper.

Go there for the benefits, rather than require it to be

And as for copyright enforcement...,

> Aardvark Responds:
> Unfortunately, in order to be an effective tool
> against spam, porn, crime, cracking, etc, a
> valid, authenticated ID would need to be an
> essential part of all online activities.

It couldn't be better for enforcing pay per view on
everything they "own."

From: Robert Hoare
For : The Editor (for publication)
Subj: Internet Identity Cards

There's little point in any western government trying to
force internet users to identify themselves.

Anybody who wants to hide (or simply does not like their
government telling them what's best for them!) will just
access the internet via another country.

Proving identity for commercial or government transactions
online is fine (credit cards work well in many cases).
Needing to prove identity for all online access is
unworkable, unless you also control all international phone

Come to think of it, it's possible to use a payphone
anonymously.  Perhaps you should be forced to put your ID
card in the slot when using a payphone - won't affect those
with "nothing to hide" (apart from being a real pain) and
will cut down on those anonymous harrassing calls...

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