Monday, May 22, 2006


Kim Cameron notes that an IBM researcher has come to the same conclusions on the UK Id card scheme as he himself did. Kim says:

"My central “aha” in studying the British government’s proposal was that the natural contextual specialization of everyday life is healthy and protective of the structure of our social systems, and this should be reflected in our technical systems. A technology proposal that aims to eliminate compartmentalization rejects one of the fundamental protective mechanisms society has evolved. The resulting central database, where everything is connected and visible to everything else, is as vulnerable as a steel ship with no compartments - one perforation, and the whole thing goes down.

The starting point for a security thinker is that there will be perforations. In low value systems, the breach will come from neglect. In a high value system, there will be conscious attacks mounted both from without and within, and one must assume that one of these will succeed.

Our art consists in reducing the frequency of such perforations, and - once a breach occurs - minimizing the damage that is done. The current British proposal masterfully maximizes such damage, like a fire extinguisher full of gasoline. "

The IBM man, Michael Osborne "slated the UK government’s ID cards scheme on the grounds of cost, over-centralisation, and being the wrong tool for the job."

Update: John Lettice has been examining the prime minister's faith in the ability of technology - in the form of eBorders and ID cards - to solve the immigration problem

"Blair, under severe pressure from opposition leader David Cameron, appropriately enough described an e-Borders and ID card based Fortress Britain as the ultimate fix for illegal immigration...

But we shouldn't be too hard on Tony here; yes, he's placing an absurd amount of faith in technology which cannot supply a solution, but he's not alone there, just maybe a bit further out on a limb than the rest of Western Europe, all of which, to a greater or lesser extent, is in denial."

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