Anywhere, anyone

I've been reading Emily Nagel's book "Anywhere". She's the CEO of Yankee Group and the book is about global connectivity revolutionising business. I hope she won't be offended if I say that it's an "airport book", but it's an accurate description, at least for me, because I read it on the plane. There's something that bothers me about it, though. It has lots of stories and examples and narrative about ways in which business is transformed as it goes online, but it doesn't have "identity" or "authentication" in the index and says nothing about the identity problems that will need to be solved in order to realise the full potential of connectivity. As I've often observed before, using my favourite Kevin Kelly classification, connection isn't the problem: it's the disconnection technologies that will shape the medium-term roadmap for transforming new technology into business models: once everything is connected Continue reading "Anywhere, anyone"

NSTICy questions

I've been reading through the final version of the US government's National Strategy on Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC). This is roughly what journalists think about:
What's envisioned by the White House is an end to passwords, a system in which a consumer will have a piece of software on a smartsphone or some kind of card or token, which they can swipe on their computers to log on to a website.[From White House Proposes A Universal Credential For Web : The Two-Way : NPR]
And this is roughly what the public think about it
Why don’t they just put a chip in all of us and get it over with? What part of being a free people do these socialists not understand?[From White House Proposes A Universal Credential For Web : The Two-Way : NPR]

And this is roughly what I think about it: I Continue reading "NSTICy questions"

Confronting the issue

There's an interesting choice of words in the O’Reilly Radar publication on "ePayments 2010". The report's subtitle is "Emerging Platforms, Embracing Mobile and Confronting Identity". I thought that this is expressive: the payments industry is "confronting" identity.
...even as consumers come to expect online systems to know more about them in order to facilitate transactions and reduce friction in accomplishing tasks, they are likely to want to maintain control over which online services have access to distinct aspects of their identity.
Very well put. It illustrates a point that I find myself making in more and more discussions these days: that if the players in the payments industry don't deal with the identity problem, then someone else will.
Identity is critical in many ways: It ensures the right degree of user personalization, enables the reliable billing of services used across a platform, and provides a strong foundation of Continue reading "Confronting the issue"

It’s all fun and games, until… no, wait, it is all fun and games

Consult Hyperion has been working on a project called VOME with the UK Technology Strategy Board. The idea of the project is to help people who are specifying and designing new, mass-market products and services (eg, Consult Hyperion's clients) to understand privacy issues and make better decisions on architecture.
VOME, a research project that will reveal and utilise end users' ideas and concepts regarding privacy and consent, facilitating a clearer requirement of the hardware and software required to meet end users' expectations.[From Technology Strategy Board | News | Latest News | New research projects help to ensure privacy of data]
Part of the project is about finding different ways to communicate with the public about privacy and factor their concerns into the requirements and design processes. Some of these ways involve various kinds of artistic experiments and it's been fun to be involved with these. We've already taken
Continue reading "It’s all fun and games, until… no, wait, it is all fun and games"

What do they want us to do?

What do the politicians, regulators, police and the rest of them want us (technologists) to do about the interweb tubes? It might be easier to work out what to do if we had a clear set of requirements from them. Then, when confronted with a problem such as, for example, identity theft, we could build systems to make things better. In that particular case, things are currently getting worse.
Mr Bowron told the MPs this week that although recovery rates were relatively low, the police detection rate was 80 per cent. However, the number of cases is rising sharply with nearly 2m people affected by identity fraud every year.[From FT.com / UK / Politics & policy - MP calls cybercrime Moriarty v PC Plod]
So, again, to pick on this paricular case, what should be done?
Mr Head also clarified his position on the safety of internet Continue reading "What do they want us to do?"

An idea for the Independent Commission on Banking

The Independent Commission on Banking recently published an interim report on their Consultation on Reform Options. This interim report raises the subject of bank account number portability. Section 5.17, to be specific, says that:
Beyond improvements to the existing system, full account number portability would enable customers to change banking service providers without changing their bank account number. This would remove the need to transfer direct debits and standing orders, which remains the main area where problems may arise. In the past, portability has been rejected as overly costly, but if no other solutions appear effective and practicable, it should be reconsidered to see if this remains the case given improvements in IT and the payments system infrastructure.
It seems reasonable for the Commission to wonder why customers cannot port their account number from one bank to another the way that they can port their mobile phone number from Continue reading "An idea for the Independent Commission on Banking"