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Further discussion on 2006.02.09...

>For situations like that (where you're willing to trade
>anonymity for convenience), there ought to be a mechanism that
>would allow you to get IDed on the spot.

Biometric tech isn't very accurate at the moment.  Presumably
retinal scan is closest, but average folks (not just Gilmores)
would probably object, and I'm not sure the safety is so good.
If it worked, I'd prefer it to papers, but I'm not sure either is

I'd prefer perfect biometrics because of greater convenience
('Did I bring my papers?'), greater stickiness ('If I loose my
papers, how will I replace them / who will find them?), and the
avoidance of this problem.

Also, the change in media might be an opportunity to change how
ID is established in the first place.  I'd hope for some sort of
open network, rather than government agencies.

The ID networks used for public-key encryption keys are an
interesting start here, as are systems like ebay.  Authentication
could go like this: 'Read the randomly-generated message that was
just encoded with your public key.'  The message would have to be
right, and some formants in your voice could be compared with a
recording in the database.

>And when he was a kid, nobody was blowing up buildings just for
>the heck of it.

Measures in place prior to 9/11 required ID to board planes
(access to terminals has required tickets since the mid '90s, if
memory serves), and they didn't prevent the attacks.  The attacks
were possible because of insecure cockpits and outdated ideas
about what terrorists want and how to deal with them (cooperate
and talk them down).  As a passenger, I'd always wondered about
the former, and considering the public threats of the terrorists
responsible, there's hardly an excuse for the latter.

"Anarchist" bombings actually go back to the late 19th century in
American history (wave of hysteria out of Chicago, IIRC).  And
the twin towers were very nearly brought down in the early '90s
by a bomb delivered by land.  Repairing the damage from that
attack was apparently one of the most complex and expensive
engineering projects ever undertaken (if the TV documentary I saw
on it is to be believed).  A federal building in Oklahoma was
brought down by a bomb delivered in a truck by a WASP.

I suppose my point is, energy should be spent on making sure
people are happy, and that their fortunes are tied to those of
their government and society.  Anal probes at airports don't
strike me as the most desperately-needed measures in this effort.

Otherwise, where does it stop?  I can bomb a train, but I can
also bomb a concert.  A movie.  A crowed street.  An apartment

>Concern about anonymity is a modern phenomenon, and I think it's 
>a temporary one.  When you live in a small village and you know
>everybody, you have no anonymity within your community.  That
>kind of everybody-knows-everybody situation has been impossible
>in the global village, but that's going to change; when it does,
>things will settle down.

I think it would be more accurate to say that global identity is
a new phenomenon.  It's inherently different than village
identity.  In the latter case, you're identified by folks who you
can also identify.  Who's identifying you in the former case?

By the way, I thought Kevin Kelly's recent soapbox on anonymity
was completely unconvincing.

>Let's go back to the village.  There, your privacy is limited;
>stuff you do in private is private (maybe), but stuff you do in
>public, everybody (who's interested) knows about, because
>everybody knows everybody and everybody talks to everybody.
>When a stranger comes to town, how he's treated depends on the
>town's experience with strangers.  If their experience has been
>that strangers are interesting, honest, kind, and safe, they'll
>welcome him and value him for the variety.  If their experience
>has been that strangers are dishonest and harmful, they'll do
>what they can to drive him away.  If their experience has been
>mixed, they'll be suspicious, and not trust him until they know
>him well enough that they can decide whether he's likely to be a
>What would the equivalent of this be in a global village?  When
>you go into a place where you're not known, you should be able
>to choose whether you're treated with hostility, suspicion, or
>friendliness, depending on how much information about yourself
>you're willing to reveal.  If a community owns an airplane, they
>might not want to let you ride it if they don't know anything
>about you.

A global village would mean no strangers.  Maybe you mean: What
happens when a bunch of villages start trading with each other,
adopt hierarchical organization, and then the smallest level in
the hierarchy disappears?  In other words, what happens when the
village zero-anonymity situation is nowhere available, and the
stranger situation is nowhere avoidable?

But the question, 'What would you be willing to trade various
kinds of being identified for?' stands...

government-issued ID
	getting on a plane
		I resent it
	driving a car
		I resent it
	going to a movie
		I'd revolt

some kind of open ID
	getting on a plane
		I'd happily do it but think it's unnecessary
	driving a car
		I'd happily do it
	going to a movie
		ID-only movies might be interesting, but I would
		resent the lack of anonymous movies