[Privsec] a UN charter for digital identity Š?

Gus Hosein gus at privacy.org
Fri Jul 7 11:59:41 BST 2006

Am afraid I won't be there in Copenhagen but will be there in spirit!

At 15:11 +0200 5/7/06, Ralf Bendrath wrote:
>From the blog of Jerry Fishenden, Microsoft's National Technology 
>Officer for the UK: He is writing about an event in London last 
>Sunday, which was co-organized by some of our members from APC and 
>Privacy International. Very nice development with regards to our 
>"people-centred privacy and identity" proposal for the IGF.
>I will meet with Karen and Rikke (...and Gus? Are you coming?) in 
>Copenhagen over the weekend, and we'll give you an update on where 
>things are afterwards.
>Best, Ralf
>-------- Original Message --------
>Subject: [governance] a UN charter for digital identity Š?
>Date: Tue, 04 Jul 2006 09:23:32 -0400
>From: Robert Guerra <rguerra at lists.privaterra.org>
>Reply-To: governance at lists.cpsr.org,	Robert Guerra 
><rguerra at lists.privaterra.org>
>To: governance at lists.cpsr.org
>i'm forwarding the following blog posting of interest to the list.
>Comments expressed are that of the author, and not mine. Please contact
>him directly with any comments you might have.
>a UN charter for digital identity Š?
>4 July 2006
>I suspect my Saturday afternoon was somewhat different to most people's
>this last, football-crazed weekend. It was spent discussing various
>Internet-related topics with the United Nations' Markus Kummer and
>others at the LSE's Old Theatre. The event brought together an
>interesting, diverse group of people from different perspectives and
>backgrounds drawn from around the world - all focused on addressing
>issues that prevent the Internet realising its true potential.
>The LSE's Old Theatre has a rich history. It has witnessed a wide range
>of events, from recent appearances by the likes of Bill Clinton to
>acting as the rehearsal venue in the second world war for the
>entertainment gangs that went out to entertain our troops (remembered
>with a small, typically modest plaque as you enter the theatre).
>The event was held to help determine the events and sessions for
>discussion at the UN's Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in October, which
>came out of the WSIS in Tunisia. I was invited to speak on a panel
>talking about the importance of privacy and security issues. I spoke
>about the need for them to be viewed as two aspects of the same problem
>- echoing a theme I've been concentrating on for some time about finding
>the right balance between public policy, technical design and citizen
>I ran briefly through the issues that continue to blight the Internet
>due to the missing identity layer and how we have ensured that privacy
>design is a pillar of equal status to security in Microsoft's
>trustworthy computing initiative. In the time available (highly focused
>because of a certain international sports event later that afternoon ) I
>could only touch upon the importance of the work being done by Kim
>Cameron and many others around addressing these identity issues.
>The session provoked a range of interesting questions and comments and I
>was left wishing there had been more time to discuss the principles of
>the work we've been doing across the industry around identity in more
>detail. Maybe another time Š
>There was however a clear consensus on the need for some firm proposals
>for the IGF to consider when it meets later this year in Athens. My
>proposal was that the UN at the IGF should take for one of its workshop
>streams the seven laws of identity and aim to work its way through these
>to determine an optimal set of technology policies in this critical
>area. Whilst this might not become a formal "UN charter for digital
>identity", it would at least formalise this important work and help
>recognise its significance.
>When we look at issues such as spam, phishing and pharming and all the
>other problems that blight the Internet, it's important that the UN's
>IGF looks at the issues that cause these problems. Many of them come
>back to the missing identity layer: hence the importance of the work
>that Kim and many others from the identity gang and beyond have been
>doing. We're already seeing industry right across the board get behind
>the identity metasystem and InfoCard principles.
>It would be great to see the UN and the IGF recognising the importance
>and value of this work and reflecting the ideas behind the seven laws in
>the proposals that eventually emerge from their deliberations. That
>might of course start as an investigation into the problems of spam and
>phishing. As Markus pointed out when I was discussing the issues raised
>informally with him after the event, spam in countries with low
>bandwidth is not just a nuisance, it's a high economic cost too, chewing
>up bandwidth that could be better used for productive purposes. I
>mentioned to him the 3 billion plus spam emails that we block a day in
>Hotmail and likewise what a phenomenal waste of resource this is that
>could be doing something productive.
>It's important that we work across the industry with policy makers and
>society to tackle these issues: the UN's IGF could become a useful
>crucible for debating and making progress.
>I'm keen, as the meeting agreed, that the IGF engages too with the real
>issues that underlie such problems: and which could block the Internet's
>true potential. Identity, and the issues it in turn raises around
>privacy and security, seems to me as a good a focus as any we might hope
>I look forward to constructive, productive debates and outcomes at these
>sessions in Athens in October.
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