William Heath from Ideal Government has responded to my previous post, saying:
I agree with your comment about the riskiness of the central register and I think your suggestion that identifiers be unidirectional is very sensible.
He goes on to make the sobering point that “… it may take ten years (and another massive IT project failure) for people to work out why doing ID in this way (omnidirectional identifier – Kim) is not such a good idea.” He continues:
I wish we could make people more motivated about this sooner, because we need a good outcome.
Thank you anyway for the laws of ID, and getting stuck in to this specific case study. From where I'm sitting this is far from academic.
Yes, we need a good outcome: systems that are beneficial to the individual and to to her society; and systems that are widely seen to be beneficial. Systems that are safe against attack over very long periods of time (should we say, practically forever?) Systems that are designed for minimal entropy, that are likely to leak as little as possible despite all the conspiring forces of time, overconfidence, incompetence and evil.
Now, please, tell me how we transform the discussion on identity from one in which brick and mortar politics are flung about to one in which we calmly come to grasp the practical matters involved in building new virtual social institutions that combine technology and social contract. William's comment that proponents of the current bill “call their critics intellectual pigmies” is indicative of how far we still need to go.
We need to move beyond moral imperative. We need a way to transform the tenets of the current debate to a pragmatic one based on maximizing social cohesiveness and minimizing system entropy and economic risk – as I have argued here and here. I'm starting to understand that the Laws of Identity must be accompanied with a systematic examination of the problems of long-lived technical systems.