Recently (we are in the beginning of 2012 now) there are quite some news about activities in Internet hacked by people who call themselves anonymous. Its a logical consequence of the nature of Internet and information science, that human being gain to achieve powerful actions that technically or better practically are impossible to track back, or in other words, enable human beings to express their mind globally and take actions without too much fear for repressions, no matter where they are. This is quite an interesting phenomena, since never before in history humankind had a tool to communicate and organize common interest in such a way decentral internet technologies allow us to do. Without doubt as we are only at the beginning of the information age (or better century, as it was referred to more often in the 90ies), and today this activities still remain related to a small minority of computer nerds. But I see good reason, that a peer group of smart citizens might start to inform further citizens bringing us to a more information based society pressuring corrupt structures and allowing us for insights, humankind never had.
Imagine Google would aim to design for an advanced Internet layer based on Identy. Identy is key for any semantic web-service and basically why semantics did not really take off until now. Identity is important for semantics, because there are many situations, where it matters, who or often equally interesting how many human beeings share something. And the best about it, identy could be designed and work well that way, that it does not faciliate to lookup once name, telephone number or any of that identifying cards like drivers license, social security number , passport etc... just guaranteeing that information comes from a unique human alive beeing on this planet, with all the protection of identy a global community of independent world citizen will be assuring to its users. In other words in such a systems it could be guaranteed that each members registeres exactly once and spamming or manipulation of information could only work until that degree, as a majority would vote, not to mark that anonymous id as spammer (and another majority to show that in whatever context or reduce chance for spamming in other contexts). One could see it a little bit like a karma system, action good for society in some context will give you good Karma, bad actions will influence the things you can do in future ( ebay ratings work a little bit like that today) and most important things, you cannot just create new identities in some contexts, or if it would make little sense to have so many zero karma pseudonyms, where everybody sees, you are just trying out something. So basically in such a system it just scales significantly better to work for society then for personal benefit.
I have no doubt that the manipulation of information will be much harder in future as I suspect most people to prefer a system that assured each citizen has a free, independent voice, that when it comes to public interest and space might require certain traceable public information (a society of independent citizens on the sunny side of digital divide demand) to eliminate chance of corruption. Such a layer probably first would provide author trust information on each webpage , and could require different public information for different common interests .Imagine how such a system would change our manipulated mass media news system ( since everybody would be able to see, who finances what news paper or just simple thinks like how many local people in war areas share that opinion/news. or just where locally news are raised) Probably most readers also would prefer to read from people that make public what else or related they are writing about, or who at least do not hide information that gives proof to their arguments published opinions. It also would probably evoke a quite better alternative to what Google tried with its sidewiki-service, enabling any world citizen to comment any website. Further it would pressure governments since such system would for first time in history enable each citizen to be heard in political decision or even become a whistleblower at minimum risk. . It would make clearer then ever before what citizens really think and want on each special topic (not political party or something like this). Even more, it could show one day at a global level, how people anywhere on earth are affected by rich countries politics and lead for more sustainable decisions.
But is anonymous ID possible?
If you have a look how finance system protect today identities today, I must assume at least technically. A group of non-government, non us- provider and financially backed philanthropist would have to start to provide an Anonymous-ID service by coding for example independently taken genetic DNS Information to a unique key, using and maintaining state of the art cryptic one way functions similar to those used to create virtual currency. This processes need to be documented like open-source and must be locked that way, that everybody could see, when a non authorized third institution like governments, police, etc. is trying to rebuild a key. Keys should be issued by at least lets say 13 independent Open Key Providers, each one monitoring all key processing actions of each other. Encryption must be at least as strong as it is today with digital currencies.
Certain action probably would require to be done in independently certified hardware environments especially when something more secure then 2 factor authentication is required, but most function could used as it is case with digital currency from any internet connected PC. Acces to identification systems would require a personal and individual password. Certain action could depend on last change and complexity of choosen password. For security protection system also would compare place of access for higher security in context where it is needed, while would stay flexible and allowing for non localizable action in areas of less freedeom of speech. There should be several technics implemented avoiding the passing or stealth of personal certificates/password tokens, among them the choice to give away pseudo-working fake passwords, in situations people are threatened to give away personal informations.
If its digital, cannot it just be copied?
Yes it can, but same rules for your bank account!
What else could be achieved by protected IDs,
Protected ID could be the base for developing a new currency based on shared structured information (or some kind of knowledge as some would say). There is no doubt that most of business values today already are mainly created from information as principal resource. Anyhow our current money system is not reflecting this well and unevitably also going to crash sooner or later (probably sooner this century). Measuring knowledge or the usage of information at first hand seems to be a quite odd concepts, where it is until know technically quites senseless to protect intelectual property. But main difference here would be to reach a protection by common commitment, as it works with all accepted currencies. If you for example state, that Washington D.C is the capital of the USA you are creating a bit of the semantic web, that certainly would have a relevant value, if some 10.000 users state it for true (not necessarily a scientific one). If you start measuring how many queries use that bit of knowledge to conclude from washington to the united states, you could estimate the contribution of that value. Another example could be you share an incredible price you found for a flight to washington. Another participant of the semantic knowledge currency powered web, could search for the cheapest option flying to the usa and get that way to your flight information. Once confirming, that this price is true, you could participate in the created value by a certain percentage...
Without doubt, semantic web technologies, would have a deep impact on markets and would incredible help to find best answers on complex questions, most have not even realized today. A knowledge based money could be the solution to close the gap between innovation on the one side and eliminating earlier workforce rationalized by innovation, it could motivate to act and innovate work best for society and break down our typical capitalistic laws exploiting and destroying our planet for the sense of profit maximization.
It would boost science and help to learn from each other in a never known way and velocity. It will break down language frontiers and facilitate free experience exchange. So will it mean that one day everyone will be able to construct the atomic bomb? Probably not, since it is still probable that majority of world citizens would vote to restrict access to certain information.
The biggest challenge to change to such a system will be the interest conflict between benefiting from their physical assets and properties and those enabling the new immaterial system.
How do you think about it, do you think our worlds future is in your hand? Do you already support pages like Avaaz.org or Ngos? would you like to be the world like this? Let me know!