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Obama Likely To Move On Cyber Crime And Identity Theft

While the President has his hands full bringing world peace and the usual things expected from a US President, back home there is the big issue of identity and privacy hindering the American information revolution. The issue of fraud will become increasingly unmanageable until identity is linked to interactions, in the real world, on the internet and the phone.

The answer is not in using documents, nor assuming if they were once used then the identity is legitimate.

The answer lays where the process is integrated into our real lives equally with our information, work, health, financial, government and social network-lives.

Security 'experts' are waking up to the fact that the phone is just like the internet and subject to similar threats that bigger, more powerful computers  lose against - where are we to go? I don't know abut them but these thoughts occured to me years ago so I've had time for a plan.

More gadgets, a new phone, snake oil...?

The answer that you'll get from the manufacturers is 'new phone', and from the telco's 'new service'. Assume it isn't going to happen. They don't have any answer.

The security experts will tell you 'new software' or 'gadget'. Some financials will tell you it's a magic sticker. Others are at work pc-ifying the mobile phone.

How's that java certification going RSA? Its not possible to secure the phone in the manner you seek. Are Verisign seeking to map the (telephone) network and do their own linking and location check based security or another solution from the guys who gave us green browser bars.

Existing Infrastructure Is Capable Of Providing The Solution

The solution is possible using existing infrastructure but it is perhaps too eloquent requiring minimal need for participation from the networks and the manufacturers, using them merely as plumbers and tap makers while someone else with a bigger view is assuring the quality of the water and that the sewage isn't mixed with the drinking water.

Get a new tap or a pipe anytime and the quality of the solution should continue. The reservoir is the key, and just like drinking water from the source, if what goes in it isn't checked (or authenticated) then it may be polluted and no matter how clean your pipes are you'll still be drinking sewage. The internet 'knowledge reservoir' is no different.

Identity Matters.

The greatest savings for government are beyond the fraud and more about the better and more reliable provision of services and application of revenue. Governments will get a few headaches from the increasing complexity of international money systems and the potential for tax avoidance and criminality. I can purchase an empty box from the internet from a foreign supplier, perhaps get a tax deduction and a hidden incentive. Just think ebay scams, or the old oil company 'import the million dollar special valve and shift money offshore' scam.

Governments will likely see an increase in not even sophisticated scams. Anyone want to buy a tax deductible box of calculator rolls? It'll be light on but I'll have a friend sling a few bucks to your facebook account. There are issues.

I'm guessing also that the financial industry, despite their desparate need to come up with a 'save the world' and save face plan - aren't going to be the ones to provide it either.

Andre Edelbrock mentions Obama's 'cybercrime Czar' and perhaps doubts that governemnts can solve the cyber-crime issues. I disagree.

President Obama won''t get the right answer from the guy motivated by profit in selling you a new wonder gadget or premium add-on to your phone service, and he's certainly not going to get the existing players to help achieve the objective with what is already out there. They are not motivated to do that. There is also a need for a cure in the 'here and now' WITH the 'here and now'.

Privacy Matters

Of course citizens may expect increased convenience, privacy and democracy in exchange for adopting whatever identity solution is applied and I don't see too many providers with any handle on either. Most existing and potential providers seem to be urging us to do the same thing we've been doing, or do it even worse, or just buy some new gadget or obfuscation device, which like all the previous ones - appears bound for failure.Gordon Brown might also be happy to see his name on that, but a tired old ID card or DNA database just won't do - its going to be mobile. An ID card and 'The Man' with the secretive reader is de-mo-crazy.

I'm guessing President Obama would lean towards privacy and democracy, so there is hope, after all, but will he have the audacity to turn it into a reality? I'm guessing yes - because it's also about a potentially monumental legacy and putting the capital D in Democracy (spell capitol anyway you want) and he might even step lightly on a few toes for that. Mobile identity offers much to many.

Look to Obama, he also has the best chance of selling it to everyone else.


ps.While what I write is meant for the public domain I expect other sites to at least attribute my work to finextra and perhaps mention my name eg:

who quote the Obama article word for word.

It is only through the support of hundreds of thousands of finextra readers that I write, and the support of advertisers, and while I don't mind the word getting out, people should at least know where it comes from.


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