Revolutionizing Marketing: The Business Case for XRI/XDI

Dear Marketing: An Open Letter From Your Customer
by Chris Maher of Fosforus

Opening:

Over the years, I have had an uneasy relationship with you. I’ve not cared one bit for being your prospect. And, as it seems that being your customer is just an extension of a permanent, unrelenting and ever-more-intrusive marketing campaign, I’m not nuts about being your customer, either.

He quotes David Glen Mick from a paper Searching for Byzantium: A Personal Journey into Spiritual Questions that Marketing Researchers Rarely Ask

Another set of spiritual questions we seldom ask ourselves concerns the effects of marketing and consumption on human character. By character I do not mean human values, but rather our psychological temperament as we go about our daily activities. What kind of person does marketing and consumption encourage or discourage?

Mick’s answers include examples of qualities of temperament that are, in his opinion, encouraged by marketing and consumption: impatience, incivility, judgmentalism and distrust.

He continues to articulate the problems with marketing and gets to the heart of the matter by offering a new model.

What I’m recommending is the creation of (what I will call) a “custnomer”: a data alias or new “name” for that me that gets profiled by your computer systems.

At a minimum, this will mean that my customer records and data won’t have my real name appended to them. There are too many thieves and scammers out there who are seeking to use my good name and the records attached to it. Grab your nearest CIO and Chief Privacy Officer (and maybe the Chief Security Officer, though that person is probably on Zoloft at present) by their lapels and strongly encourage them to begin in-depth research into the promising work on Extensible Resource Identifiers (XRI) and XRI Data Interchange (XDI).

The Daddy of XRI, Drummond Reed, is someone I consider a friend …is, without question, the darned nicest and most patient technology visionary that you will ever come across. There isn’t an ounce of ego in his dealings with us woefully common folk.

Warning: XRI/XDI is not some obscure, trivial “tech thing” that will only be meaningful to those who mumble to themselves and spend half their lifetimes slaughtering innocents and evil-doers… virtually, that is. XRI/XDI has encoded within it is a simple, powerful idea that will come true over time and will change your business: “My private data is mine.”

He goes on to highlight data anonymity and the work of Latanya Sweeney, Assistant Professor, Institute for Software Research International at Carnegie-Mellon University.

Here’s how Sweeney describes what she does:

Perhaps the biggest clash between technology and society involves privacy. The task of maintaining privacy and confidentiality in a globally networked, technically empowered society is quite difficult, tricky and fun.

Data privacy (or more precisely, data anonymity) is emerging as a new study within computer science that is the study of computational solutions for releasing information about entities (such as people, companies, governments) such that certain properties (such as identity) are controlled while the data remain practically useful. While these problems have been studied, in part, by statisticians and earlier computer scientists, their solutions have been rendered insufficient in today’s technically empowered society. So, in data anonymity, we develop new approaches and tools for today’s computational environment.

My colleagues and I (in the Laboratory for International Data Privacy, for which, I am the director) take a two-prong approach to data anonymity. On the one hand, we work as data detectives and on the other hand, we also work as data protectors.”

The best part is he finished up with the new business model.

I’m thinking that there’s probably some trustworthy business entity—although, I’m hard-pressed to figure out which it might be—that could serve as my proxy. (Now, banks and/or credit card companies, before you leap to any conclusions, take a long look at your information assurance practices and see the part of this article about the Trusted Computing Group.)

I would willingly provide just enough information, credentials and data that authenticate who I am and which, say, establish my credit-worthiness to a “trusted relationship proxy”: some government-certified, insured, audited, secure entity that would establish and manage the data version of “me” and would become the “gateway” to all (or many) of my most important business relationships. Think of this proxy as an agent who serves as a buffer between me and you.

Identity Hub Announced and other fun stuff

Marc Canter had a great week at Always On. The Identity Hub took a step forward with the announcement of the GoingOn Network.

(I didn’t make it :( because I was hanging out with the Spiritual Activists in a different part of the Bay Area looking for clients for Integrative Activism.)
I got to hang out at the WordPress partyon Sunday evening and some of the folks were nerding out on Microformats that seem like a key part of the weaving the social web.

I have a busy week coming up with Tag Tuesday tomorrow night. Eugene Kim and Zack at SDForum and then Planetwork Thursday on Identity

TSA data cloud searching – Flights today, Subways tomorrow?

This article was slashdotted today.

TSA had promised it would only use the limited information about passengers that it had obtained from airlines. Instead, the agency and its contractors compiled files on people using data from commercial brokers and then compared those files with the lists.

The GAO reported that about 100 million records were collected.

The 1974 Privacy Act requires the government to notify the public when it collects information about people. It must say who it’s gathering information about, what kinds of information, why it’s being collected and how the information is stored.

And to protect people from having misinformation about them in their files, the government must also disclose how they can access and correct the data it has collected.

Before it began testing Secure Flight, the TSA published notices in September and November saying that it would collect from airlines information about people who flew commercially in June 2004.

Instead, the agency actually took 43,000 names of passengers and used about 200,000 variations of those names – who turned out to be real people who may not have flown that month, the GAO said. A TSA contractor collected 100 million records on those names.

It brings up some serious concerns about how information collection and validation is done by the TSA for airline passengers. How can we trust governments to collect this much information about us just because we travel.

This week I wonder why care about airlines passengers because security is so tight that airlines do not seem to be a place where the next round of attacks will be. If London is any indication it will be on mass transit. Given the level of police/security presence on the transit systems in the Bay Area this week is certainly seems like there is some concern that mass transit will be attacked. They have started random searching of bags to get on the NYC subway. One wonders if they will start issuing ‘identity passes’ to get on such systems.

On the city subways, which are used by 4.5 million people on the average workday, the inspections started on a small scale Thursday afternoon and were expanded Friday.

The New York Civil Liberties Union opposed the searches, saying they violated the Fourth Amendment. Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he hoped the NYCLU would recognize that the city had struck the right balance between security and protecting constitutional rights. He said the bag-checking program is part of a policy to “constantly change tactics” and “may, or may not, be there tomorrow.”

July Planetwork FOCUS on DIGITAL IDENTITY TOOLS

July Planetwork FOCUS on DIGITAL IDENTITY TOOLS

Thursady, July 28th doors at 6, program at 7
CIIS, Namaste Hall,3rd Floor
1453 Mission St. San Francisco (2 blocks from Civic Center BART)

With my emerging persona as Identity Woman curated this line up that provides a great opportunity to learn more about some of the latest tools for next generation digital identity.

Light Weight Identity – LID
Johannes Ernst NetMesh Inc. .
Light-Weight Identity(tm)– LID(tm)– a new and very simple digital identity protocol that puts users in control of their own digital identities, without reliance on a centralized party and without approval from an “identity provider”.

OpenID
Brad Fitzpatrick Six Apart, Ltd.
OpenID, a decentralized identity system, but one that’s actually decentralized and doesn’t entirely crumble if one company turns evil or goes out of business. An OpenID identity is just a URL.

Sun Single Sign On
Pat Patterson Sun Microsystems
Sun is announcing the intention to open source web single sign-on. This project, called Open Web Single Sign-On, or OpenSSO, gives developers access to the source code to these basic identity services allows them to focus on innovations that solve more urgent problems, such as securely connecting partner networks, ensuring user privacy, and proving compliance.

Opinity, Inc
Ted Cho
Opinity provides open reputation for end users. It is a young start up offering free online reputation management related services so that individuals can authenticate, aggregate, and mobilize their website (eBay, Amazon, etc.) reputations. Opinity also offers reputation management tools so that individuals can monitor, build, and work to enhance their own reputation going forward. Individuals can also review other individuals at the Opinity website.
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