Feeds

Who do you think you are?

A week at CFP draws to a close

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

Computers, Freedom and Privacy At the beginning of the last day of the ACM conference on Computers, Freedom, and Privacy I thought I knew who I was. Now, after a couple of panels on identity management, I'm less sure.

Web 2.0 (rounded corners and all) brings a new twist to an old problem: more IDs, more passwords, more economic transactions, and many more people storing all that data.

One of today's more interesting, but technically complex presentations reviewed the salient features of the logical response: identity management systems. This was a rerun by Ralf Bendrath and Udo Neitzel of the presentation they gave at last December's Chaos Communication Congress.

When they start talking about "identity providers" it's deja vu: in the crypto wars "trusted third parties" were proposed to prevent widespread anonymity backed by widespread strong cryptography. Because, as Bendrath noted, "governments hate anonymity".

That simple fact – and in the UK and EU generally anonymity has long been on the list of things the various governments would love to do away with – is why "identity providers" are a problem. No matter how good their intentions are now, they could easily become a central point of tracking, especially, as Caspar Bowden pointed out, in today's era of burgeoning data retention. Today, ISPs' logs; tomorrow...well, we all remember anon.penet.fi.

If you don't, you must be a member of that younger generation some of this year's panelists have decried for valuing their privacy so little that they put their pictures and many details about their lives on Facebook and/or MySpace. This from the generation who did the same kind of thing (sans pictures) on Usenet. It is entirely possible to choose to live your life in public and yet value your privacy, and it's natural for older generations to get nervous watching younger ones taking risks. To know what they think they're doing, we'll have to ask them.

But fear – even on another's behalf in generation gap 2.0 – is an instinctive reaction, not a rational one, as Bruce Schneier explained in a keynote that delved into the inner psychological workings of the various parts of the brain.

More than that, travel data privacy expert Edward Hasbrouck noted, when you tell someone something's risky what they really assess internally is whether it frightens them. Hence the poor assessment of risk by so many people. Does the thought that your identity provider could track you through the comments you make on blogs everywhere firghten you? No?

Does it frighten you when that same identity provider's services are adopted by your bank, your government, and your health service? No?

Does it frighten you when the report from all that tracking is sent to your parents, your employer, your spouse, your children? Hey, that wasn't me. Code 2.0, Web 2.0, Identity 2.0, Privacy 2.0? CFP 18.0: April 2008, New Haven, CT. Chair: Eddan Katz. Party and out.®

You can catch up with Wendy here, where she lives (semi) publicly, while valuing her privacy.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
One HUNDRED FAMOUS LADIES exposed NUDE online
Celebrity women victimised as Apple iCloud accounts reportedly popped
Rubbish WPS config sees WiFi router keys popped in seconds
Another day, another way in to your home router
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
NZ Justice Minister scalped as hacker leaks emails
Grab your popcorn: Subterfuge and slur disrupts election run up
HP: NORKS' cyber spying efforts actually a credible cyberthreat
'Sophisticated' spies, DIY tech and a TROLL ARMY – report
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
New Snowden leak: How NSA shared 850-billion-plus metadata records
'Federated search' spaffed info all over Five Eyes chums
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.