Identity Explodes
"Dragging all human behavior into the public is literally totalitarian," said Bob Blakely, chief security and privacy scientist for IBM's Tivoli Systems.."

This pulled from Cnet perspective by Michael Kanellos, reaffirms my notion that a Whuffie system though considerably intrusive is nothing compared to future identity systems created in the name of "security":

puckering points:
• supercomputers reconstructing your entire life in minutes
• "mind reading" video cams that know your facial expressions and body language
• data mining randomizers that remove identifiers for studying trends. (Sure they will.)

I remember one time spending three months trying to clear my name of a state hopping namesake who did not pay his phone bills, it was frightening, I could not prove I was me and he was not. It was my SSN#, that finnaly saved the day. The item we must be deadly serious about is protecting ownership of our identities. A nation, organization, or people group who directly or indirectly obtained extensive ID info would seriously compromise democracy, liberty, and individuality. Our govedrnment must first protect our ID's from foreign and domestic powers, and then we must charter constitutional amendments that re-establish the balance of power in identity rights.

A good read.

Be careful of those who claim Ashcroft is the author of America's Orwellian nightmare, much like the bizzare clone cult, extreme attract's attention while truly subversive deeds are done. | other privacy/identity news

White Knight in Testing (Don't tell Nat X) Futurism Cont'd

The space race is on, and with a gumball rally like feel, racer's compete for a 10 million dollar prize. At least the Russian space station will have some competition. | Full Story here| contest site here update: read about other grassroots space programs via boingboing.net


Retro Futurism

Try this great index of random retro futuristic items.
One, might think that my attraction to futurism, makes me utopian or socialistic. Untrue, I just think too much of our future is shaped by a minority who thinks about the future, when it should by a topic forged by the majority. True futurism as embraced by greats like Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Frank Lloyd Wright, Buckmisnter Fuller, our forefathers in this country (And many others abroad) seeks to make the hardships of life better for some, and provide hope for many, through science, ingenuity, hard work, and ideas. For example Ev Williams inventor of Blogger should be heralded for producing a technology that is truly empowering: sites like this one or this one show that a small voice can reach the world, with a simple technology applied.

What makes an individual truly unique is not one's wealth, strength, ideas, or other noble qualities, it is one's birthday-the time that one lives in. We live in truly dynamic times, though many are content to bumble through, the events of the war, no matter what side you are on, speak starkly of the power of technology, ideas, and individualism. The new era we are in is now punctuated by Monday April 14, 2003 the complete mapping of the human genome. The future is you.


cyberfictionreview.co.uk A nicely done UK site with blog and reviews of science fiction literature from a "mattheww" visitor to this site.
Titles that I recognize:
Pattern Recognition, Altered Carbon, Snow Crash, Nueromancer. (Know that is saying little as although I largely enjoy sci-fi literature, I am painfully underead.)
No Down and out in the Magic Kingdom? Not even in his upcoming list. Of course he claims that only 10 people in the UK have heard of Cory Doctorow. (How inflammatory!) But to his credit he does have outbound links to boingboing.net and Bill Gibson.

update: I just realized that no reviews have been posted yet. I will wait, the site looks good so far. Maybe this will be the start of a new UK literature craze. I have always been a big fan of C.S. Lewis and JRR Tolkien.

Accordian Guy Saved from Peril by "web trust"

My stats had a serious spike last week with trackback from The Accordion Guy at Kodefu.com. Who had been blind to the bad whuffie of his new squeeze.
The readers digest version for those who had not heard: Joey deVilla meets girl, Joey deVilla blogs of her wonderful attributes, blog visitor makes comment about her being a scam, Joey deVilla meets in person with comment maker for authentication, potential harm and grief was greatly avoided thanks to an open environment of information on the web. | full story |

I think the "blogosphere" picked this up because it shows the potential good of of the virtual community created by blogging. Blogging is better than the psychic network. I think this is a strong indicator of the potential for a whuffie system. I think the key for that system to be truly functional is an open opt in, adhoc environment, that is not simply a tool serving a corporate or government entity. (or serving political or financial intersts, either.) But a people's system, made by the people, for the people, and of the people.

The fulcrum question in an age where identity issues and ethics are in the spotlight, how can one continue a reasonable amount of confidentiality, and still participate in an open database like the Whuffie system?

I am still working on my postulates for such a system that I plan on publishing soon and it is a given that certain parts of ones Whuffie database would be entirely opt-in and either entirely private, or accessible to only certain users.

However, the issue of privacy could also be approached from an oncoming global transition to a "no privacy" social system. Meaning that everyone's records are available to everyone everywhere. While this is questionable if not reasonably distasteful to everyone, it has already happened. Big corporations often have more information about you and your habits, then even you or the government, who has also been trying to catch up from the rear of the information compilation process. Another shocking example is that Google can deliver anyone's listed street address by entering your phone number (area code first, separated by dashes.) It used to be you had to either be a recipient of a local phonebook directory mailing, or obtain one to get that info, but now anyone anywhere can know where you live anytime. While that seems invasive, and even frightening, it also can be comforting. That pushy car salesman, might not be so rude when he see's you Google his home address from his phone # on his business card. Caller ID has surely seriously deminished prank calls. (Although I got one from some total moron, who's home address I know, not too long ago.)
Don't get me wrong I am a big advocate of privacy. However, our world is being redefined by technology, and it up to us to create ethics that coincide with it.
While criminals will likely always hide in the shadows with false identities, publicly held, open information systems could actually serve to diminish criminal activity and identity theft, while at the same time, protecting your rights to privacy. Unfortunately the common man is down by ten, and "Big Brother" is heading towards the end zone.
Many think it is too late, and that it is a fate we have to accept. I do not. This kind of cowardice, apathy, and willingness to accept control, is what fuels dictatorships, cruel monarchies, and disfunctional democracies. We are the architects of our world. We must reason, act, and sacrifice for our future and our children's future.