ETel Coverage: Operators and Identity

by Moshe Yudkowsky

My colleague Lee S. Dryburgh is discussing trust and how it works on the Internet; without strong authentication, anyone can claim to be anything. As an example, he showed a fat man drinking a glass of beer who claims, in his online profile, that he doesn't drink and has a "toned" body.

But I disagree with Lee about the role of telco operators in this ecosystem. First of all, while the telco operators can authenticate the SIM cards, they don't always authenticate the user. Secondly, I don't trust the telcos to manage the huge problems associated with lost credentials, name changes, and the like. A SIM card is a low-stakes identity credential -- you can get as many of them as you like. But if they become the basis of identity verification, the telcos will no doubt administer these systems with their typical compassion, customer service, and altruistic pricing models.

And, finally, I just can't see my local telco deciding if I'm allowed to claim that I am "toned."

2 Comments

Lee Dryburgh
2007-02-28 15:03:11
In short as I am in the conference listening - telcos have the opportunity to provide "identity anchorage" - they can provide some valuable assertions which can play a role in increasing trust between unknown persons which oils social networking apps....(very rough)
Moshe Yudkowsky
2007-02-28 16:25:21
I very much respect your opinion, and I urge all readers to read your comments, articles, and web pages.


Let's arrange for an online debate.