ZD Net’s Rafe Needleman writes on a very important topic, online identify.
Offline, we can show a drivers license, passport or some other ID. Online – how can that be done?
If you want to do business with someone around the world or around the block, in many cases you must ensure their identify and establish trust. Online, this is VERY hard to do.
Rafe writes What is identity? That’s either an interesting philosophical question or a very annoying one or both–I can’t decide. The one thing I’m sure of is that a lot of companies want to manage our online identities for us. Unfortunately, I don’t trust any of them–at least, not yet.
Online identity is the core of electronic commerce. When somebody or some company wants to do business with somebody else or another company, it’s all based on identity and trust. If I’m trying to buy something from you, I have to trust that you’re really the business I think you are and that, once I transfer to you the information you need to take my money, you will deliver to me what I want. And you trust that the transaction information is actually coming from me and not somebody who has stolen my identity.
Today, trust between two parties has to be established each time a relationship is formed. So I have one identity with Amazon, another with my bank, another with the phone company, and so forth. It’s a pain to keep all these identities straight and to remember which passwords work for each. But there is an advantage to this madness: The identities are separate. If one account is cracked, the exposure of my identity should be limited. Break into my Amazon account, and you won’t be able to turn off my phone.