Saturday, January 14, 2012

Obama's New Scheme to Control the Internet and Spy on Americans

Dissenting Opinions
Saturday January 14, 2012

The Obama administration has been quietly plotting new controls on the Internet, including an ill-advised scheme to issue everyone a single Internet ID.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced that the government is drafting a plan called the "National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace" to centralize efforts to create a "trusted" identity eco-system.

Locke said that one of the goals of the program is to reduce or eliminate the need for people to memorize multiple passwords.

The plan will rely on private identity providers, rather than government to issue ids and run the system.

There are several problems with the Obama's Administration plan:

First, having one id is not a good idea. Why is identity theft becoming such a big problem? Because all of your financial information is tied to one government issued id called a Social Security number. Once a criminal gets a hold of that, they can unlock you entire financial life. Having multiple ids enables you to segment your life and reduce the overall damage that can be done if one of the ids is compromised.

Second, there are already multiple identity providers on the internet whose ids can be used across web sites. They include Microsoft Live, Google, Yahoo, and Facebook.

Third, There are already open standards for authentication (OpenID) and authorization (OAuth) that are widely used by these identity providers and various web sites.

Forth, since the government is sponsoring the system, they will undoubtedly mandate that the companies running the system provide access so that the government can spy on our activities.

As usual, the government is claiming that there is a problem when no real problem exists, for the sole purpose of gaining power and control over yet another aspect of our lives. As always, the end result will be the exact opposite of the government's stated goal -- internet privacy will be completely destroyed.