We must understand the past to not repeat it.

Please see the prior post and the post before about how we got to discussing this.

We can not forget that the Holocaust was enabled by the IBM corporation and its Hollerith machine.  How did this happen? What were these systems? How did they work? and particularly how did the private sector corporation IBM end up working a democratically elected government to do very horrible things to vast portions of its citizenry? These are questions we can not ignore.

In 2006 Stefan Brands gave a talk that made a huge impression on me he warned us and audience of very well meaning technologists that we had to be very careful because we could incrementally create a system that could lead to enabling a police state. It was shocking at the time but after a while the point he was making sunk in and stuck with me. He shared this quote (this slide is from a presentation he gave around the same time)


It is the likability that is the challenge.

We have to have the right and freedom NOT to be required to use our “real name” and birthdate for everything.

This is the defacto linkable identifier that the government is trying to push out over everything so they can link everything they do together.

Stephan proposes another Fair Information Principle.


I will share more of Stephan’s slides because I think they are prescient for today.

Stephan’s slides talk about User-Centrism technology and ideas in digital identity – ideas that have virtually no space or “air time” in the NSTIC discussions because everything has been broken down (and I believe intentionally so) into “security” “standards” “privacy” “trust frameworks” silos that divide up the topic/subject in ways that inhibit really tackling user-centrism or how to build a working system that lives up to the IDEALS that were outlined in the NSTIC document.

I have tried and tried and tried again to speak up in the year and a half before the IDESG and the 2 years since its existence to make space for considering how we actually live up to ideals in the document.  Instead we are stuck in a looping process of non-consensus process (if we had consensus I wouldn’t be UN-consensusing on the issues I continue to raise).  The IDESG are not taking user-centrism seriously, we are not looking at how people are really going to have their rights protected – how people will use and experience these large enterprise federations.

Yes everyone that is what we are really talking about…Trust Framework is just a code word for Enterprise Federation.

I went to the TSCP conference a big defence/aerospace federation (who was given NSTIC grants to work on Trust Framework Development Guidance) where this lovely lady Iana from Deloitte who worked on the early versions of NSTIC and potential governance outlines for IDESG – she said very very clearly “Trust Frameworks ARE Enterprise Federations” and it was like – ahhh a breath of fresh clear honest air – talking about what we are really talking about.

So back to the Stephan Brands re-fresher slides on user-centric ID so we don’t forget what it is.
















Look at these, take them seriously.


BC Government Innovation in eID + Citizen Engagement.

I wrote an article for Re:ID about the BC Government’s Citizen Engagement process that they did for their eID system.

CoverHere is the PDF: reid_spring_14-BC


Because of my decade long advocacy for the rights and dignity of our digital selves, I have become widely known as “Identity Woman.” The Government of British Columbia invited me to participate as an industry specialist/expert in its citizen consultation regarding the province’s Services Card. I want to share the story of BC’s unique approach, as I hope that more jurisdictions and the effort I am most involved with of late, the U.S. government’s National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace, will choose to follow it.

The Canadian Province of British Columbia engaged the public about key issues and questions the BC Services Card raised. The well-designed process included a panel of randomly selected citizens. They met face- to-face, first to learn about the program, then to deliberate key issues and finally make implementation recommendations to government.

[Read more…]

Health Insurance (un) Happiness

I was surfing around looking for people who had blogged about the IIW. I found this post by Sean Coon about Health Insurance. He had this lovely quote to start the post off: “If you’re self-employed, demand a really good health plan. and if your boss won’t listen, quit. That’ll show yourself.”

Just this week I got the letter from my health insurance company saying that my health insurance would go up to $570 a month from $430. I shifted age brackets and it is just that time of year when fees go up. I can’t really get insurance on the market cause I am ‘uninsurable’ I am stuck in this plan. I feel lucky that I make enough money (at least right now) that I can absorb the increase. This cost is why millions of American’s don’t have health insurance.

Information and Governance – Disaster and Disease

If government cannot inform, there is no government.”Burce Sterling highlights this as the pull quote from the below. I would tend to agree and wonder how it informs our work in considering governance for the next layer of the internet.
This is from Laurie Garrett “the emergent-disease guru” who’s comments in an e-mail titled Hurricane Katrina Analysis – CFR Global Health Program.
To read the full text hop over here.

6) Mental Health issues AND lack of information increasing them.

The mental health of hundreds of thousands of people must now be a priority. Uprooted, homeless, jobless, rootless and in many cases grieving for lost loved ones: These people will all suffer for a very long time. A key to their recovery is, again, a lesson from 9/11: information…Knowing what is going on ‘back home’ is essential to mental health recovery. We have been in disasters in poor countries where wild rumors flowed among the poor for months, each one sparking a fresh round of anxiety and fear. If government cannot inform, there is no government.

-) Establishing Trust between Government and People to abate public health crises in the aftermath.

I found myself recalling the way the Chinese people responded to the SARS
epidemic. Because they knew that their government had lied to them many
times in the past and had covered up cases in the capital, people turned
away from official government sources of information. Rumors spread like
wildfire via cell phone text messaging, spawning a mass exodus from Beijing
of tens of thousands of people. The medical system in China is notoriously
corrupt and the peasants stay away from hospitals unless it is a matter of
life and death. When government told the masses to go to the hospitals if
they had fevers, the Chinese refused. The SARS situation spiraled out of
control in large part because the people had long-standing, sound reasons
for distrusting their government. Public health collapses if the bond of
trust between government and its people breaks, or never exists. I saw the
same thing with plague in India in ’94.

7) Poliitcal Backlash

America, and this government, is going to witness an enormous political backlash from these events, stemming primarily from the African American community, if steps are not boldly taken to demonstrate less judgment, and greater assistance, for the black poor of the region. Cries of racism will be heard. In every disaster we have been engaged in we have witnessed a similar sense by the victims of disasters that they were being singled out, and ignored by their government, because of their ethnicity, religion or race. The onus is on government to prove them wrong.

5) Debrise – where to put it all?

We have never in history tried to dispose of this much waste. It is hoped that before any officials rush off thinking of how to burn or dump a few hundred thousand boats, houses and buildings, some careful consideration is given to recycling that material for construction of future levees, dams, and foundations. Looking at aerial images of the coastline one sees an entire forest worth of lumber, and the world’s largest cement quarry. No doubt tens of thousands of the now unemployed of the region could be hired for a reclamation effort that would be rational in scale and intent. It would be horrible if all that debris were simply dumped or burned without any thought to its utility.

8) Continued support of medical personal in the region.

Much more thought needs to be given immediately to the needs of medical and psychiatric responders located just outside of the region. The patient flow they are now receiving is minuscule compared to the tidal wave coming their way

1) Mosquitos

2) CDC warning about Vibrio cholerae

3) Sewage

4) Lack of Pharmaceutical supplies