Many websites currently offer a ‘Trusted Web I.D.’ service for users in an attempt to prevent Internet crime. Internet dating sites were among the first to roll out the idea as a result of pressure from clients who desired the added security inherent in the service. However, if the Obama Administration gets its way, such Web I.D. services would be mandatory for all Internet users across the board.
According to 2 reports, one in The Digital Journal, and the other on Fox News, White House Cyber Security Advisor Howard Schmidt and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke have proposed a system of mandatory virtual Internet I.D. cards, which they call ‘National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace.’
Although the proposal first surfaced in January of 2011, reports in late October and November of this year indicate that the proposal has been given new life by a fresh round of support.
Once the system was proposed, 2 more agencies of the Obama Administration jumped on board pushing for its passage–the Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Council.
The article in the Digital Journal states,
In its current proposal standing, the proposal for a mandatory Internet ID card is meant for compulsory usage—designed to be used for all government online transactions or online business transactions that will accept it. This will make trailing a person’s online activity a one-step process as it would be centralized, with positive and negative arguments.
Although Commerce Secretary Locke told a group at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research that the program is not the equivalent of a national I.D. card or the government takeover of the Internet, Fox News reports that the proposal has been a source of alarm for some.
Jim Dempsey of the Center for Democracy and Technology told Fox News,
“The government cannot create that identity infrastructure. If I tried, I wouldn’t be trusted.” In rebuttal, the White House Cyber Security Coordinator, Howard Schmidt, fully endorses the Internet ID cards as, “… ‘the absolute perfect spot in the U.S. government’ to centralize efforts toward creating an ‘identity ecosystem’ for the Internet.”
But government watchdog groups believe that the proposal represents an infringement on privacy and individual liberty. As with many laws that are aimed at ‘protecting citizens from crime,’ such laws rarely stop or even slow the onslaught of hackers and other security threats in cyber space.
As Matt Bracken told the Western Rifle Shooters Association today,
Step one: “voluntary” Internet “trusted user” IDs.
Step two: Make them mandatory.
Step three: Make political enemies “unpersons” on the net.
Such power in the hands of a centralized government bureaucracy is ripe for the use of the information toward nefarious, subversive ends.
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