New Federal Online Identity Plan

Discussion in 'Politics' started by B_TonyK8483, Jul 27, 2010.

  1. B_TonyK8483

    B_TonyK8483 New Member

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    Real ID Online? New Federal Online Identity Plan Raises
    Privacy and Free Speech Concerns

    Authors: Lee Tien & Seth Schoen

    URL: https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2010/07/real-id-online-new-federal-online-identity-plan


    What are your opinions?


    Tony Kaiser
     
  2. Bbucko

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    I'm sure I'll post more on this later, but you do understand that any expectation of online "privacy" is an illusion, right?
     
  3. MercyfulFate

    MercyfulFate New Member

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    There are ways to be private if you know what you're doing. Regardless it sets you up with some immovable internet passport thingy, and the implications are not something I'm cool with.

    All of this stuff just spells "more control", but people seem to accept tons of public camera systems and things I've never been comfortable with.
     
  4. ColoradoGuy

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    Very valid point, Bbucko... similar to the still controversial statement made by Sun's CEO Scott McNealy ten years ago:


    Link to PC World article.


    Thinking that anyone can lurk around undetected on the Internet is a widely-held myth. Although you can use services like Anonymizer, Anonymouse and others, your browser itself may be impossible to disguise because the vast combination of personal settings, software updates, and customization version identifiers render a fairly unique profile of your browser, and therefore, your computer. The Electronic Frontier Foundation conducted a study recently called "Panopticlick".

    [Note: The EFF is also the source for the article the OP quoted from.]

    According to Ars Technica, "Of the 470,161 browsers that participated in EFF's Panopticlick project, 83.6 percent had an 'instantaneously unique fingerprint.'" If it is that accurate, no amount of IP-spoofing will ensure that your electronic footprints are untraceable.

    So, the OP asked for comments and here's mine: We've never had any real privacy anyway, so I'm not sure that free speech is threatened any more than it has ever been threatened by existing electronic surveillance. The real conundrum is in defining "free speech". I will point to a current event to illustrate why: the Wikileaks posting of documents concerning the war in Afghanistan is a textbook example of free speech (regardless of whether or not it was right -- this thread isn't to debate that issue). However, the disclosure of those documents to Wikileaks is likely not an example of free speech because somebody or a group of somebodies broke the law in obtaining them or releasing them or potentially both. NSTIC might help identify and prosecute those individuals if (and this is a big IF):

    • the government had NSTIC in place, AND
    • the documents provided to Wikileaks were provided via electronic means (email / FTP / etc.), AND
    • the government could find a successful venue to sue Wikileaks, AND
    • the govenment won a discovery challenge to compel Wikileaks to release its electronic communications (this is challenging simply because Wikileaks could argue source confidentiality as a quasi-journalistic enterprise), AND
    • the government could win a case proving -- via NSTIC -- the identity of the provider(s) of the leaked documents.
    So, NSTIC in itself isn't going to have some sort of immediate First Amendment impact, but I think it's logical to assume it could have a chilling effect on free speech.

    NSTIC wouldn't change what I say or don't say online, but then I'm not in the business of treason, espionage, or other criminal activities. I will still post on LPSG, I will still read blogs, I will still view porn (in other words, all those activities where some degree of assumed anonymity is desirable) as well as pay my bills, manage my investments, and send email (those activities where no anonymity would be acceptable). I read the EFF article the OP linked to and I personally don't think our increasingly electronic society will be able to avoid some sort of federated ID management system. However, there are real risks mentioned in the article that will require some thinking: theft of electronic IDs and the potential use of falsified electronic IDs by government agencies in law enforcement.

    The interesting thing about both of these risks is that they exist today without a federated ID management system. Wallets are stolen, computer passwords are discovered or misappropriated, spoofing is widespread and government law enforcement "stings" happen all the time. So, the idea that because we're implementing an ID system creates new problems is an example of a non sequitur argument.

    This will be an interesting public debate to watch as it unfolds.
     
    #4 ColoradoGuy, Jul 28, 2010
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2010
  5. Bbucko

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    Maybe ten or fifteen years ago, the hackers had the upper hand on the large tech companies who make the internet hum along, but these days there's just too much damn money to be made off of it to allow much real subterfuge or any genuinely clandestine internet use on the part of any small group or individual. The tech companies are ten steps ahead of you now.

    And, though I, too, am troubled and dismayed by the lack of privacy in today's world, I will say that there's a difference between "surveillance" and "control": and, no I'm not being disingenuous about this. Whatever "they" see, however closely "they" choose to monitor somebody (for whatever reason), and whatever "they" do with this info remains unclear to me.

    Even more importantly, I don't know who "they" really are to begin with: are "they" people in the government, people working for the tech companies or something else?

    Unless this gets picked up by Fox News, there will likely be no discussion of this except on some really geeky blogs or message boards until it comes to pass. And if Fox does pick it up, it will be slanted in an attempt to discredit the Obama administration, so don't expect logic or real debate to figure in to it very much.

    With the enormous amount of time I spend online, I'm well aware of all the bots and cookies that attach themselves to my IP and actual machine, too. I dislike Facebook but use it to maintain contact with some old contacts from my days living in Paris. I dislike the fact that only Google does what it does as well as it does it to the exclusion of other search engines, and I dislike the fact that they control access to my blog and e-mail as well. But that's life online right now.
     
  6. B_TonyK8483

    B_TonyK8483 New Member

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    Mercyful Fate,

    Agreed, but the problem is with an online federal ID to access the internet, if you attempted to use another person's ID in order to cover your identity and used somebody else's computer, they could try you for identity theft which these days carries heavy jail-sentences.

    Me neither


    Colorado Guy,

    Actually, that's not exactly true. One obvious issue with this ID program is that it would effectively be an internet-license. The problem is that licenses can be revoked and would give the government greater latitude to revoke internet access to people who use their First Amendment rights in a manner the government disapproves -- something obviously antithetical to free-speech.
     
  7. ColoradoGuy

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    If you're going to argue with me, please be specific about what you're arguing about.
     
  8. Bbucko

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    Still no thoughts on who "they" may be or why "they" would find someone a "person of interest"?
     
  9. MercyfulFate

    MercyfulFate New Member

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    I would assume they would be the intelligence agencies that spy on us.
     
  10. Bbucko

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    To what end?
     
  11. MercyfulFate

    MercyfulFate New Member

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    Who knows? They already did it with the NSA wiretaps, which one analyst said thousands to millions were spied on, and not all in connection with terrorism either.
     
  12. Bbucko

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    I seriously understand the concerns over privacy, but, at least in my case, eavesdropping on my phone, texts and whatever I write on the internet would be a futile and very banal waste of time and reveal nothing at all.

    If I ever feel the real need for privacy, I arrange a face-to-face visit.

    Presumably, those wiretaps were aimed primarily at suspected drug users and/or dealers, as the "War on Drugs" has been vastly stepped up in intensity over the last dozen years or so. Local police enforcement of suspected drug use and/or dealing is nearly fascistic and the use of SWAT-like techniques and the overuse of force has become commonplace. There are several YouTube vids showing just how brutal these "raids" can be, especially when there are kids in the house; it's also routine to shoot family dogs.

    My feelings regarding the futility of prohibitionist laws of any kind and their over-enthusiastic enforcement are well known. But this is handled almost exclusively on a local level, and unless the FBI is involved, the feds leave it to local police departments to deal with them.

    I'm much less clear about the extent to which all this surveillance and wiretapping is directed toward those whose political views are deemed "extreme" (one way or the other). It's not against the law to be a nut so long as you're not a violent nut. I just find it difficult to believe that there are that many "intelligence officers" whose only job is to listen in on the phone calls or pour over e-mails of millions of people, but maybe I'm just that naive.
     
  13. MercyfulFate

    MercyfulFate New Member

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    My issue Bucko is it sets up a precedent that can be further abused in the future. Imagine there's another 9/11 type attack and a future administration decides to revoke the internet privileges of "dissenters"? Things like that bother me, just as the Patriot Act did. It opens the door for future abuse if a President is so inclined to go that way.

    I feel like America isn't very far from a totalitarian system. Hell just driving into NYC felt like I was already in a police state.
     
  14. D_Tully Tunnelrat

    D_Tully Tunnelrat New Member

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    Well, China is a totalitarian system with a growth rate last quarter of almost 12%, where over 1B people are employed, and over 300M have been pulled out of poverty in the last 10 years. Given the choice between greater personal freedoms, and a job, which one would you take?

    Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of personal freedoms, digital, or otherwise too, but China is proving they can co-exist, to a degree, with a totalitarian state. For every bit of land that is taken via eminent domain there, the owners are given free one, or two high rise apartments (there is no property tax there either). Fair? No mortgage is a deal most in the US would take now, esp. with their house underwater.

    These are not digital freedoms, but given the option between accessing Facebook, which you cannot do in China, and having an apartment mortgage free, or for cheap rent, which truly offers more freedom?

    On a tech note, even if the gov. invokes some type of ID system, many users will probably use VPN tunnels, or private networks, as they do now, to get around it. Also as phones become more and more like computers, it's going to be harder for the gov. to track all those devices, and for the John Q. Public to display or maintain the same id, via differing technologies on multiple devices. Many people cannot even maintain an email account.

    Hollywood and the music industry cannot maintain encryption mechanisms to protect their multi-billion dollar industries, how is the government going to leap frog ahead of them in terms of developing sophisticated technologies that anyone can use?

    Lastly if this is a one size fits all program, how are small businesses with no IT dept. going to be able to comply with these regulations? That would seem an undue burden on small business, which is the source of most of the new jobs coming out of a recession. This is a big, complicated, techincally sophisticated topic for which it is easy to write policy papers, but harder to create compliant systems. To wit: the recent Wikileaks articles, based upon information stolen from the US Gov., revealed Afghan informants, as well as US undercover agent identities, and those of their families. If the government cannot maintain the privacy and integrity of their own personnel data, how can they hold small companies, and individuals to a higher standard?

    On the flip side, here's one anecdote, on the uselessness of the Terms of Service Agreements, from CDT.org that is worth a read:

    This point was echoed by fellow witness David Vladeck, head of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. Vladeck prompted laughter when he recounted a particularly apt online prank orchestrated by UK video game retailer Gamestation. On April 1, Gamestation added a clause to its Terms of Service that gave it a non-transferrable claim on each user’s soul. Even though Gamestation provided an incentivized opt-out – an $8 voucher for users who refused to give away their souls, 88% of users (7,500 people) nonetheless sold their souls to the company. The point was clear: opt outs buried in terms of service documents are so inaccessible and ineffective that claiming they offer consumers real control is, well, laughable.
     
  15. Bbucko

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    I'm not sure how old you are, MF, but if you can remember life lived as an adult in the 70s and early 80s, it was completely, totally different from today. "Law and Order" (not the TV show) was a hammer used by politicians of all stripes, but most often used by Republicans who tried to smear Democrats as "soft" on crime. In order to counter the smear, many Dems (especially socially-conservative Blue-Dog types) upped the ante to see who could be "tougher" on "crime" with three-strike laws and minimum sentencing (which effectively diminished the judiciary in this country). Our incarceration rates are absurd.

    The results of these efforts, beginning in the 80s and continuing ever since, have been a lowered rate of crime and a huge increase in local (and county) police officers. Certain demographics, like Latins, Blacks and gays are largely the target of this increase in police activity, though it's effected everybody to one degree or another. There was a time when I rarely saw police cars; now they are everywhere, all the time. Where I live, in Wilton Manors, FL, we have one of the highest percentages of GLBTs in the country (#3 if I'm not mistaken), and we are subject not just to our local police force (enormous for such a small population), but the Broward sheriff's office as well. South Florida is insanely over-policed.

    There are a lot of scared white people out there. Twenty-five years ago gated communities were practically unheard of: now they're everywhere and proliferating. I lived in one for a year and, while very comfortable, felt like I was in a kind of lock-down with cameras everywhere, armed guards patrolling constantly and such draconian visitor's policies that I would have friends and guests park across the street and walk them in: it was nuts.
     
  16. B_TonyK8483

    B_TonyK8483 New Member

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    Colorado Guy,

    I was talking about the second quote which was stating how this online ID could affect one's freedom even more than currently. I explained why.


    Mercyful Fate,

    Correct

    Correct, and the NSA is working on all sorts of elaborate data-mining systems currently (AQUAINT/PERFECT CITIZEN)


    Bbucko,

    Which is a serious problem. The War on Drugs was exploited to give the government a lot of power, which you, yourself, even label as being fascistic; the War on Terror has actually fed into the War on Drugs as well.


    Mercyful Fate,

    Exactly
     
  17. B_VinylBoy

    B_VinylBoy New Member

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    Why do people don't think this already happens? There is no privacy on the internet. It's all traced, documented and archived for people to see. You just need to know where to look or spend enough money to gain access to the logs.

    Also, being in fear of a Federal "identity plan"? Do any of you have a Social Security Number?
     
  18. ColoradoGuy

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    Thank you for pointing out these two obvious points, VinylBoy.

    Also, TonyK8483, you aren't making any sense. Look at what you quoted from me and then look at your comment:

    So what's "not true"? The Ars Technica article? Then tell me why the article is not true or the Panopticlick study assertions are not true. My opinion? That's why it's called an opinion. The OP asked for opinion and I provided it. My opinion cannot be, by definition, "TRUE" or "FALSE" because it is not a statement of fact. You saying, "that's not exactly true" is a non sequitur.

    I'm okay with being argued with, but argue with me logically and explain your points. And don't be dismissive of me when I challenge you in the future by saying "I already explained".
     
  19. Bbucko

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    I'm on the record as being vociferously opposed to any form of prohibitionism as well as decrying the state of over-policing we find ourselves in. I'm not sure if you're attempting to persuade me of something I actually agree with or not.

    But I've gotta say that, however misdirected and abused the word "war" has become in the US, the "wars" on drugs and terror are very different matters; in fact, the occupation of Afghanistan seemed to encourage the growing of poppies used for heroin for a few years. The only points of commonality is that they each serve to justify a level of surveillance that would have been unacceptable a generation ago.
     
  20. B_New End

    B_New End New Member

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    Why try to convince the slaves they need privacy? They believe they are free.

    Nope, it will be horrifying. We'll see our so called right to free speech in action, then we will see the debate close with "real ID" for the internet. The mind of the government is already made up, the debate is just a side spectacle to let people think they have some kind of say in the matter.
     
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