The Internetaffordsanonymity to its users, a blessing to privacy and freedom of speech. But thatveryanonymity is alsobehind the explosion of cyber-crimethat has 1 across the Web.
Can privacy be preserved 2 bringingsafety and security to a worldthatseemsincreasingly 3 ?
Lastmonth, HowardSchmidt, the nation’s cyber-czar, offered the federalgovernment a 4 to make the Web a saferplace-a “voluntarytrustedidentity” systemthatwould be the high-tech 5 of a physical key, a fingerprint and a photo ID card, all rolled 6 one. The systemmight use a smartidentitycard, or a digitalcredential 7 to a specificcomputer .and wouldauthenticateusers at a range of onlineservices.
The idea is to 8 a federation of privateonlineidentitysystems. Usercould 9 whichsystem to join, and onlyregistereduserswhoseidentitieshavebeenauthenticatedcouldnavigatethosesystems. The approachcontrastswith one thatwouldrequire an Internetdriver’s license 10 by the government.
Google and Microsoft are amongcompaniesthatalreadyhavethese“singlesign-on” systemsthatmake it possible for users to 11 justonce but use manydifferentservices.
12 .the approachwouldcreate a “walledgarden” n cyberspace, withsafe “neighborhoods” and bright “streetlights” to establish a sense of a 13 community.
Mr. Schmidtdescribed it as a “voluntaryecosystem” in which “individuals and organizations can completeonlinetransactionswith 14 ,trusting the identities of eachother and the identities of the infrastructure 15 which the transactionruns”.
Still, the administration’s plan has 16 privacyrightsactivists. Someapplaud the approach; others are concerned. It seemsclearthatsuch a scheme is an initiativepushtowardwhatwould 17 be a compulsoryInternet “drive’s license” mentality.
The plan has alsobeengreetedwith 18 by somecomputersecurityexperts, who worrythat the “voluntaryecosystem” envisioned by Mr. Schmidtwouldstillleavemuch of the Internet 19 .Theyarguethat all Internetusersshould be 20 to register and identifythemselves, in the same way thatdriversmust be licensed to drive on publicroads.