Why is her spelling so bad?

I have been told more then once that I could use some improvement in my grammer and spelling on this blog and in other contexts.

I know that those of you who are sensitive to these two things when you read – writing with errors in it is like reading text with giant red underlines. This a very annoying experience. I apologize. When I am tired and stressed my tendency to make mistakes gets worse.

I have had a few conversations with people about this problem and the only answer seems to be is to have enough money to pay an editor to go over everything I write. This is not really doable at the current point in time.

Personally I think it is a miracle that I engage with the community I work with in written form as much as I do. I thought I would share with you a bit more about my story of ‘why’ I feel this way.

The first sign things were “wrong” was that I mixed up b’s and p’s and b’s and d’s and p’s and q’s when I wrote in grade 1. I was also a very slow reader.

I had difficulty writing my ideas down. I was not able to compose a ‘good sentence’ when I was in grade 4. I was tested for learning disabilities in grade 8 I was not able to compose a proper paragraph. Needless to say this was not good if I was to go to university and do well. My mom was very proactive in working with the public school system (in Vancouver, Canada) to get me the help that I needed.

For two years in grade 9 and 10 I had tutoring initially three times a week in one period (we had 7 classes that rotated through 5 days). Then the second year only once a week. Then I was going to get cut off the following year (grade 11). I was just really starting to hit a wall in English class getting C’s and D’s. I was very unhappy and really wanted to be at a different school where I could both learn and get the help I needed to succeed.

My parents made sacrifices and found the money to send me to a private school specifically for dyslexic kids for grade 11. I had tutoring every day one-on-one and very small classes (there were 9 people in my grade). After one year there I went back to public school and repeated grade 11 in part because math and science were not good enough at the private school for me to do well in Grade 12 science and because my challenges were in english so the thinking was “why not get more practice and re-take some of those classes”.

When I got to Grade 12 I managed to complete it in 3/4 of a year. I was in a semester high school (meaning that you could do a whole class from September to Jan and then another one from Jan to June). I did a semester my high school and then completed my remaining 2.5 classes in adult education – which was basically correspondence classes but with a live teacher you interacted with at ‘school’ while you got them done. I took my final exams in April and I headed off to train with the Junior National Water Polo Team in May preparing for World Championships in July.

I was asked in May by the Water Polo Coach at UC Berkeley to apply and by August I was heading off to school California. I managed to do quite well at UC Berkeley pulling of A’s and B’s pretty much on my own with some tutoring help here and there.

I often wonder what my mom would think of my work today and how I am doing. When she died in December the year I was in grade 12. AT the time we didn’t know where I was going to college or university or for that matter if I would ever make it in higher education. She never got to know that
* I made the Canadian National Water Polo Team;
* I graduated with B+ average from the best public school in the United States;
* I write almost every day (on average) to a public audience;
* I help facilitate an amazing community.

I often wonder how things would be different if I could spell perfectly or just like everyone else and then I think you know… I see the world differently and do the interesting things because of my perspectives and I don’t want to give these gifts and insights up for “prefect spelling.”

I hope you can forgive me for my failings in the spelling and grammar department. I work hard to do the best I can and will when resources permit get an editor.

COMMENT from J Mankowski:

Yea…people and their splelling issues…….My parents came to the US from eastern Europe after the last “necessary” war. They sent me off to public school with hopes that i could achieve the Americana dream. Somewhere around the 1st grade, a school administrator showed up at the door and complained that my use of Po-lingesh was causing fights at school. The school threatened to set me back a year unless my parents stopped speaking Polish language around the house. They (the school) hoped that this action might solve their problem and mine. Nice idea and maybe it worked. The trouble here is and was that my parents did not speak a lick of English. Communication between myself and parents came nearly to a stand-still. This went on for several lonely years…..

p.s. Well, i finally grew up- i became successful of sorts having acheived a graduate degree from UC berkeley .

j mankowski
portland, Oregon

2257 Laws, Sex Workers and Privacy

Sex on the Internet, The Realities of Porn, Sexual Privacy, and How Search Affects Them All. Google Tech Talk by Violet Blue, October 12, 2007

This is an hour long presentation by Violet Blue. It is quite interesting covering a range of issues about sex and privacy online. The most interesting one directly related to identity was 2257 laws. Go to 32:30 in the video to see her discussion of this topic.

It mandates producers of pornography document the ages of those who perform in their films and that this documentation regularly is a photo of the performer with their ‘government issued ID and Social Security Card’ thus revealing basically all the information you need to steal their identities.

The 2257 legal requirements have the potential to become a business opportunity for some enterprising identity company to meet these requirements in a privacy protecting manner.

Majority on partially divided three-judge Sixth Circuit panel strikes down as facially unconstitutional the recordkeeping requirements federal criminal law places on producers of images of “actual sexually explicit conduct” to verify the ages of those depicted in the images: Describing the federal statute at issue, the majority opinion explains, “The plain text, the purpose, and the legislative history of the statute make clear that Congress was concerned with all child pornography and considered recordkeeping important in battling all of it, without respect to the creator’s motivation.” The majority proceeds to hold the statute facially overbroad and then strikes down the law as unconstitutional.

Online Community Interview about Identity

Last week I did an interview with Forum One Communications about Identity and OpenID. For those of you who don’t know about Forum one they are doing a lot of good work connecting online community managers and online community platform providers and companies who have online communities related to their business. They have the Online Community Research Network and publish the Online Community Report I helped facilitate the Online Community Unconference and recently attended the Online Community Summit.

I thought it was going to be a recorded interview – like a podcast. It was instead a sort of group live chat interview. The questions were good and build upon each other. You can see it here. I hope that some of the people actively involved in online community will come and participate in some of our activity addressing identity issues online.

AT&T has programming language for surveillance

on the WIRED Blgo Network

From the company that brought you the C programming language comes Hancock, a C variant developed by AT&T researchers to mine gigabytes of the company’s telephone and internet records for surveillance purposes.

An AT&T research paper published in 2001 and unearthed today by Andrew Appel at Freedom to Tinker shows how the phone company uses Hancock-coded software to crunch through tens of millions of long distance phone records a night to draw up what AT&T calls “communities of interest” — i.e., calling circles that show who is talking to whom.

The system was built in the late 1990s to develop marketing leads, and as a security tool to see if new customers called the same numbers as previously cut-off fraudsters — something the paper refers to as “guilt by association.”

Who is free to travel?

Peace Activist apparently are not.
Medea Benjamin founder of CODEPINK and retired Colonel and diplomat Ann Wright were both denied entry into Canada.

“The fact that the FBI has put us on this list. The National Crime Information Center Computerized Index is a form of political intimidation. The list is supposed to be for felony and serious misdemeanor offenses.

“We don’t qualify– it’s for sex offenders, foreign fugitives, gang violence and terrorist organizations, people who are on parole, a list of eight categories all together.

To be criminally rehabilitated, they would have to do a huge amount of paperwork and state that they were no longer going to commit the “crimes” they were convicted of.

Wright told OpEdNews “We were told (by the canadian border agents) if we tried to enter Canada again, we would be officially deported from the country, which is “big trouble. ‘We’ve warned you not to come back until we are criminally rehabilitated.’

Wright asserted, “We will never be criminally rehabilitated since we intend to continue to engage in non-violent peaceful protest of Bush administration policies, particular the war on Iraq and we intend to peacefully and nonviolently protest all of these until they end. They can lead to arrests for civil disobedience, like refusing to move from the fence in front of the whitehouse or standing up and speaking at congressional hearings.”

What does ‘federally approved secure licenses” mean?

My Husband Brian who forwards me articles from the mainstream press about identity sent me this article Feds Strike ID Deal Over NY Licenses

Saturday’s agreement with the Homeland Security Department will create a three-tier license system in New York. It is the largest state to sign on so far to the government’s post-Sept. 11 effort to make identification cards more secure.

Why Can’t they Here Us? Identification Cards don’t make us m ore secure. They infringe on our rights.
Article continued…

Under the compromise, New York will produce an “enhanced driver’s license” that will be as secure as a passport. It is intended for people who soon will need to meet such ID requirements, even for a short drive to Canada.

A second version of the license will meet new federal standards of the Real ID Act. That law is designed to make it much harder for illegal immigrants or would-be terrorists to obtain licenses.

A third type of license will be available to undocumented immigrants. Spitzer has said this ID will make the state more secure by bringing those people “out of the shadows” and into American society, and will lower auto insurance rates.

Internet Identity Workshop

IIW2007 Registration banner

With She’s Geeky over my attention is now turning to the two conferences that I am facilitating in November Foresight Vision Weekend and the New York Association of Independent Schools Technology Manager Conference.

In December I am producing the Internet Identity Workshop.
We had a call last week about design of IIW that went well. We will do another call early next week and have a relatively complete outline by November 3.


She’s Geeky is Going Great

So we are in the thick of She’s Geeky a women’s tech (un)conference. Today was ‘pre-programmed’ with a range of great sessions. Tomorrow is going to be the Open Space day. We have a range of amazing good sessions that are proposed and more will emerge tomorrow.

We have many sponsors to thank for making this day a reality.
We also had a great travel/scholarship sponsorship – from MyStrands that paid for Beth Kanter, Liza Sabater, and Elizabeth Perry to be here.


Foundation Sponsors:






Supporting Sponsors:

Live World





Nonprofit Organizations:

NTEN: Nonprofit Technology Network


Compumentor / TechSoup



Startups and Consultancies:


Purple Tornado

Citizen Agency


Blue Oxen Associates




Covered Communications




Vogele and Associates



Media Sponsors:



Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology



Society of Women Engineers



Will you let me give to you: PBS (and VRM)?

I really Love Frontline. It along with the New Yorker is the only news outlet doing a good job of what is happening with this war and the country generally.
I just watched the first episode of Frontline of the season (ONLINE) [I have been eagerly awaiting it for weeks].

It says at the end of the show…Support (like a link to click)
Then it gives me this crap…..

I don’t want to join my “local station” I don’t want to “support PBS Kids” I want to give to FRONTLINE – Period. (Well maybe like 10-15% could go to some general fund but other then that just Frontline).

If you (Doc) can fix this you will make them money.
Until then I don’t give.

It should be noted I don’t own a television and have not watched in that format since I went to college in ’95. Online viewing is the only way I see shows. I know it costs money to give me this experience and I am willing to donate to keep it up and running for open public viewing (I will not pay if you charge me to watch it though).

I grew up listening to public radio in Canada (where it is just government funded) I love it. Like Sarah Vowel I am passionate about radio and love good television documentary. I want these things in my life. I want to contribute to make them happen but it is not in the ‘station donation form’

When listening to my local station I almost always listen online. (I don’t drive a car so I almost never listen to a real radio). I also when I really want a show I go to the ‘find a show’ tool that will connect you with a station broadcasting that program at that time. What is local any more when you can do this? I want to support the shows I love and really don’t want to feed the ones I don’t much care for. I like Freshair, Marketplace, This American Life.

as an added bonus
I would like to watch other news and documentary shows like Frontline but I don’t know where they are. Where are the people who like Frontline also like these other whose on PBS, NPR, PRI etc? So far the few I have tried to find don’t have as good online viewing as Frontline. But really I tried to find Now with Bill Moyers once – that was it. I don’t want to wade through the PBS universe of programming to find them.

Brussels (feedback way late)

Apparently some of you had a terrible dinner experience in Brussels in April at the Identity Open Space. Well so did I.

It was one of the low points of identity community organizing involving logistics in a foreign city. I had an offer from a local in the (identity) community to help out with anything that I needed help with for the Identity Open Space. I asked him to help find a venue for our dinner. I trusted him to do this and it was not really a good choice. It was far away (although walking distance), the room was crowded, it was hot, we had a set menu, the food was not good and it was expensive. So I am sorry to all of you who endured it.

Lessons learned:
1) Don’t fully trust the local (get secondary confirmation from an additional person)
2) Tap more knowledgeable local sources – like hotel concierge to find venues for dinner.
3) Ask the co-coordinating organization for help too (that would have been Liberty Alliance in this case).

Sorry again to all of you who had a bad dinner experience. It was not my intention. I really wanted to be able to eat and talk together and discuss identity as a community. I know that my table had a good conversation so I hope that others did too.

Incomplete Identity: Auren on Identity at Stanford Law

I was invited by Auren Hoffman (Rapleaf Reputation 3861) to see him talk at Stanford Law school this afternoon. So I Trecked all the way down there. I had high hopes given the description . . . …

Portable Identities and Social Web Bill of Rights

The future world of portable identities, reputations, and social graphs has many pluses and concerns. These portable systems could make the benefits of personalization, once only relegated to science fiction, a reality. The Social Web Bill of Rights makes the claim that users have the right to portability. But there are privacy implications to take into account as well. We will discuss an opt-out vs. and opt-in approach on data collection, privacy, and portability.

but I was disapointed. I first met with Auren in a Starbucks before Rapleaf was launching many years ago (in internet time). I had not seen him since despite inviting him to every Internet Identity Workshop since then.

When opening the talk the Stanford student gave the the description given of Auren’s goal with rapleaf was this “Enabling people to look up the online reputation of others. Making it profitable to be ethical.”

He opened articulating the basic components of the ‘ Social Media Users Bill of Rights

You Own:

  • Your information (basic info about you -address height etc – and preferences)
  • Your Social Graph
  • Your Activity Stream

The key things for this to work control over who accesses it and the freedom to grant persistent access

He also had a slide that mentioned that it be verifiable (???) I was confused by this and was not sure where it was drawn from and was not further articulated. As a side note one of the things that Bob Blakely (currently of the Burton Group previously blogging here) talks about Privacy is “the ability to lie about yourself and get away with it”.

Ok back to Auren’s talk.

Portable (identity, reputation and social graph).
Why is this important – because of the Tyranny of wasted time ‘refilling all those forms out’.
Portability of identity (in the way he used it) was articulated as – it is just information about you that basically is self asserted.

Social Graph portability was just briefly referenced about ‘the people you are linked to’. There was no discussion of one of the main concerns – a ‘social link’ is between two people and moving that information from one context to another should have the consent of the party that a link is asserted about. Update:Having completed the post and understanding their data-aggregation model that fits into their business model they explicitly mush peoples social graphs together from different sites to create an aggregate social graph that as far as I can tell is not visible to the user. Distinguishing and keeping separate context is not what they do.

He asked rhetorically “What is your identity” and then mushed claims and preferences together as if they were all the same kind of identity information (where you live, what you buy, what movies you like, your sexual preference).

He talked about why several efforts in the past have failed. He said that Passport failed because it was an ‘opt-in’ system that very sites would integrate.

I thought this was an interesting assertion. I guess it was opt-in on the part of the relying parties – but the reason the didn’t opt-in was because there was only one Identity Provider and they didn’t want to be locked into only getting identities from them. Individuals had no choice but to get their identities from Microsoft to use the system. This whole reasoning was not articulated for the students though.

The failure of Passport he said proved the difficulty with the opt-in way.

The ‘reformed Microsoft’ vision of an identity meta system and particularly the Laws of Identity that inform the whole current conversation of portable identity were never mentioned.

Reputation he said was (sort of) context dependent. My internal reaction was “SORT OF? it is completely context dependent”.

He talked about Credit scores (opt out) as a white list and captchas that prove you are not a robot. I didn’t quite get what Captchas had to do with portable identity – it seemed to be a leap that was mad in his logic that was not articulated – if you have white lists (like credit scores) that prove you are a ‘real person’ then you don’t need captcha’s. At least that is what it seemed to me he was saying.

He said that Whuffie was a social currency from doing nice things articulated in Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom.

This part was nice the chart articulated the Benifits and Challenges of Opt-In and Opt-Out systems.

Opt-In Opt-out
Benefits User Decides Critical Mass
High Adoption Rate
Challenges Few Users
No one wants to integrate
Peoples Privacy

He continued talking about the privacy implications of portability. He articulated that companies should show people all the data they collect about them. He raised the issue about cookies and how ‘freeked people out’ when first introduced but now are normal. He also said that technogrpahics and behavioral Ad networks should share data.

He said that more data collection is inevitable – but at least we can have control over this data. We are not going to stop them taking data about us. We should require to tell us what data collect about us.

He said that privacy is a Grey Area but not reference any of Solove’s work on the subject of identity and privacy, information systems and law.

He did not suggest any tools for doing this or how we would audit and check on their collection accuracy or honesty. Omitting these made it all seem the goals of the user-bill of rights were just dreams really far off. There was the
Datasharing Summit that spoke a lot about this – there is the Higgins framework (although in its infancy it has working demonstration code) that has some core tools to do this for people and the sites that have information.

At this point we had questions and I challenged – Auren on his assertion about the draw backs of Opt-In. I said that OpenID was challenging the argument that it could not be widely adopted. He said yes AND it was only available on a very small number of sites.

Questions about the ‘right to delete’ were raised by Lawrence Lessig. Apparently in Germany there are laws about publishing information about past criminal offenses of long ago. How these translate online is a good question.

Both during his talk and in the question and answer period he talked a lot about the potential for optical recognition to track us around in physical space. It was conflated with tracking us around the internet. These are two very different systemic processes that have some similarities but a lot of differences. They were conflated in his articulation of the subject.

Improving EULA’s was touched upon but no mention of Identity Rights Agreements work was mentioned – so I put if forward and invited those attending to come to the Internet Identity Workshop.

I will say it was nice to see Lauren Gelman. Last time I saw her was at Web 2.0 Expo speaking following my talk on Identity and Web 2.0 and she was very pregnant. Now she has a 4 month old.

At this point I didn’t really know what RapLeaf did – I was about to find out. I thought it was just a tool that people used to do reputation outside of e-Bay for buying and selling…not so. It got way creepier since I last had it articulated at Starbucks.

Joseph Smar drove me to the Stanford train station and he explained the RapLeaf business. Basically they go around the internet and collect information about people that is keyed to their e-mail address. They aggregate this information and then they know about you. They then sell this information to sites who want to know about their user base.

His system is Opt-Out. I am in it twice(Rapleaf score 5 and 4 respectively). This is how they claim to help you keep your privacy.

You know as a user I am forced to give ‘real’ e-mail addresses to get accounts on services. Two of the services listed in my profile I don’t use at all (Tribe and Hi5). I don’t even remember signing into Hi5. I know my social graph in Tribe, Flickr, LinkedIn and Facebook are different and not directly transferable between them. I don’t want to be connected to ‘everyone’ in all contexts.

Surfing around to learn more about them and the reaction in the blogosphere I found some interesting things.

Download squad:

When you hover over a Rapleaf attribute with the mouse pointer, Rapleaf will now show you where it got the information that makes up an element in your Rapleaf rating–whether it was gleaned from a social networking site such as MySpace or provided by a peer who claims to know you. Yeah, all these factors contribute to Rapleaf’s estimation of your reputation, and now you can tell where the info actually came from. Useful… especially if Rapleaf got some detail wrong about you!

There is quite a bit on this blog but just one highlightThe Bankwatch:

This smacks of blackmail to me. A while back I received an email from Rapleaf noting that someone had searched for my address. In that case I knew it was me searching myself, but why am I left feeling that they are snooping on me, despite the fact I think [?] they are trying to protect me.


Rapleaf.com, a people search engine that lets you retrieve the name, age and social-network affiliations of anyone, as long as you have his or her e-mail address; and Upscoop.com, a similar site to discover, en masse, which social networks to which the people in your contact list belong. To use Upscoop (proudly stating they have searched 400,000,000 profiles), you must first give the site the username and password of your e-mail account at Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo or AOL.

By collecting these e-mail addresses, Rapleaf has already amassed a database of 50 million profiles, which might include a person’s age, birth date, physical address, alma mater, friends, favorite books and music, political affiliations, as well as how long that person has been online, which social networks he frequents, and what applications he’s downloaded.

All of this information could come in handy for Rapleaf’s third business, TrustFuse, which sells data (but not e-mail addresses) to marketers so they can better target customers, according to TrustFuse’s Web site. As of Friday afternoon, the sites of Rapleaf and Upscoop had no visible link to TrustFuse, but TrustFuse’s privacy policy mentions that the two companies are wholly owned subsidiaries of TrustFuse.

I suppose we should be happy to note that Rapleaf is not keeping track of our sexual orientation or the porn sites we visit.

They are using their information to help the political process though. (good thing I am Canadian and don’t participate in all that – not giving my e-mail address to political candidates).

From their website it articulates how you can ping their database of people to learn more about ‘your customers.’

Rapleaf’s TrustFuse product is an automated way of querying the Rapleaf system. Using Rapleaf or UpScoop is free and easy to use for consumers. If you are business, you can use Rapleaf’s TrustFuse system to learn about and serve millions of customers.

Work with Rapleaf by either:
1. Use our APIs to query your data real-time.
2. Upload the data in batch

Rapleaf’s TrustFuse product searches for information on your customers so you can provide them an enhanced user experience. You can use the API for up to 4,000 queries/day at no charge. After that, we charge a nominal amount per look-up.

So seems like campaigns are using TrustFuse from RapLeaf to figure out more about the voters that have signed up to get more information/participate in campaigns. I wonder exactly what they are finding out via the API’s.


His service is even more creepier then I imagined. It explains why he thinks that Opt-Out is the way to deal with these issues. Auren did say that if he couldn’t make it he would send someone to IIW in December. Hopefully we can have some fruitful face to face conversation.

Never thought THIS would happen CAN$=US$

Doc just experienced in buying a 88.60 Canadian for $100 US what I experienced my whole life but the other way around.

I wrote this a few weeks ago…the day after “it” happened. When I was growing up in Canada the American Dollar was always worth significantly more then our dollar. Some time it cost as much as 1.35 Canadian to buy one US dollar. Recently the dollar has fallen to parity. I really never thought this would happen in my life. It is happening for two reasons. Demand for natural resources is going up in the global economy – Copper, Nickel, Lumber Oil etc. all are things Canada has in large quantities and exports. The other reason is the decline of the US because of …. well we don’t have to get into all those reasons here.