Craig Mundie on Identity


I'm listening to Craig Mundie, CTO for Microsoft, deliver the keynote for today.  He is one of the first speakers here (outside the government session) to talk to the fact that governments will be players in this space and what challenges that presents.  He brings up the problem of trans-jurisdictional and trans-national  identities and mentions that many of these problems have traditionally been solved by legislation (in the case of jurisdictions) or treaties (in the case of sovereign nations.  As I've said over and over---this is a real issue that cannot be ignored.  Government has a way of making sure its not ignored.  We need our legislatures and Congress making these decisions with our help instead of a vacuum.

Craig talked about the benefits of good identity infrastructure and services that accrue from removing blocking issues for efficient information flows:

  • inter-agency and inter-government exchange of appropriate policing information against terrorism
  • greater health care efficiency with adequate safeguards for privacy
  • secure extra nets between companies
  • eGovernment services such as passport renewal
  • digital rights management of corporate and personal documents

I think most people would not necessarily agree that the last one is a benefit.  Its certainly a benefit for Hollywood, but how does it help me?  Going back to my theme of government, intellectual property rights are not the same as individual rights or even property rights.  In fact, IP is only granted to the extent such granting benefits society as a whole (read the Constitution).