Do you trust your government?

A very interesting article concerning the use of the government as a ‘trusted third-party’ in private sector transactions, e.g. proving that you are 18 or 18+ online. Vikram Kumar works for New Zealand’s State Services Commission on the All-of-government Authentication Programme. As he puts it, “… that means my working and blog lives intersect….” In this discussion of the Third Law of Identity, he argues that in New Zealand, where the population of the whole country is smaller than that of many international cities, people may consider the government to be a “justifiable party” in private sector transactions.

You know I wonder if the same could be said of Sweden with just a population of 9 million? I find -after living here just 5 years- that the trust that the Swedish individual has in the government is amazing when compared with countries such as the UK and the US. For example Swedes really can’t understand the fuss being made about the British ID scheme, In Sweden children are born with a personal ID number -you know, in addition to 5 fingers/toes and the bare necessities for survival ;-). In Sweden I believe that Vikram’s arguments are almost plausible, almost possible to work……Although as a Brit myself I find this a bit scarey…

Would you like your personal data anonymous or anonymous?

The Law of User Control is hard at work in a growing controversy about interception of people’s web traffic in the United Kingdom. At the center of the storm is the “patent-pending” technology of a new company called Phorm.

Phorm’s proprietary ad serving technology uses anonymised ISP data to deliver the right ad to the right person at the right time – the right number of times. Our platform gives consumers advertising that’s tailored to their interests – in real time – with irrelevant ads replaced in the process.

The British Information Commissioners Office confirmed to the BBC that BT is planning a large-scale trial of the technology “involving around 10,000 broadband users later this month”. The ICO said: “We have spoken to BT about this trial and they have made clear that unless customers positively opt in to the trial their web browsing will not be monitored in order to deliver adverts.”

“I also have trouble with the notion that in Phorm identities are “anonymized”. As I understand it, each user is given a persistent random ID. Whenever the user accesses the ISP, the ISP can see the link between the random ID and the user’s natural identity. I understand that ISPs will prevent Phorm from knowing the user’s natural identity. That is certainly better than many other systems. But I still wouldn’t claim the system is based on anonymity. It is based on controlling the release of information.* Find out more on this from Kim Cameron’s blog.

Google gives no OPT-OUT clause BEFORE

A couple in the US are suing Google. The lawsuit targets the Mountain View, Calif., company over images on its Web site, which allows users to find street-level photos by clicking on a map. To gather the photos, Google (nasdaq: GOOG news people ) uses vehicles with mounted digital cameras to take pictures up and down the streets of major metropolitan areas.

Apparently a spokesman for Google says that there are links on the Web site that let property owners request that such images be removed if they cite a good reason and can confirm they own the property depicted.

Interesting that we need to REQUEST to opt-out AFTER the event has occurred, but I guess we need to take the trouble first to find out if we need to opt-out, i.e. has Google placed cameras near our home?