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Doug's Mailbag: Where Everybody Knows Your Name

Last Friday, Doug wrote about Microsoft's plan to "de-anonymize" the Internet to unmask hackers. Richard likes the plan, but for a different reason:

Totally agree with you. It's all too easy to say whatever you feel like when you can hide. If you are bold enough to criticize, put your name after it.

Meanwhile, other readers worry about how that information can be used against law-abiding citizens:

Quis custodiet ipsos custodies is as pertinent today as at any time in the past. Secret phone surveillance (when identified) has been found to have been directed at NON valid targets way too often. Look who's doing the searching: young, gung-ho, non-confrontational kids who could not question their government-appointed bosses.

I'm sorry you think that increased surveillance (excuse me, tracking) will make the world safer. But every technological device developed to gain the upper hand for GOOD has been subverted to crime or repression. Every advance begets its counter-agent. You raise the point yourself: Increased repression already demonstrated within North Korea, China, Tibet, etc by using Internet tracking and identification. Yeah, the downside is that there will be scams, hate-mail and hijacked video. And this is different from before the But the sycophantic momentum is gurgling forth, and all this and more will come to pass. Brave new world.

I fear that just as some dozens of millions of credit card credentials have by now been compromised and put to identity theft use (what with the loose security at PayPal, TJMX and elsewhere), there's no hope at all that any scheme to provide Internet authentication data for private individuals won't meet the same fate. I'd rather some Internet creep proceed anonymously than wreak his/her havoc while impersonating you or me.

I refer you to a quote by one of your own countrymen: "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

What do you think? Leave a comment below or send an e-mail to

Posted by Doug Barney on 08/24/2009 at 1:17 PM


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