The Dark Side of Digital Identity

Steven Levy has an article in Newsweek about the dark side of digital identity. Levy ponders a world, very much in the offing, where the Internet becomes a tool for corporate and government interests by locking down every bit of data with strong identifying information and the authorizations to go with it. The upside, of course, is a world free of SPAM and viruses. The downside is that you might have to pay for every link you make in an HTML document. Sort of a virtual Singapore. This is a topic not enough people are paying attention to.

A related article, although not about digital identity, is this piece in the San Jose Mercury News by Michael J. Copps, a commissioner on the Federal Communications. Commission. He says:

If we continue down this path, the basic end-to-end openness that made the Internet great will be gone. Control will have been turned over to those who control the bottlenecks, just like Ma Bell controlled them in the heyday of its monopoly.

Some argue that competition will save us from this fate. But today only a minority of Americans has a choice between cable and DSL. The rest of us can take whichever one is available -- if one of them is available. Until real competition between technologies limits the power of incumbents, we must not abandon anti-discrimination rules.

From Welcome to the Mercury News on
Referenced Tue Dec 16 2003 09:15:58 GMT-0700

Alternately, we can build networks like UTOPIA. Qwest and Comcast are busy building networks that will lock us into whatever they decide we need. I want more than that.