Government Doublespeak: Internet Identities

Submitted by kvaughn on Thu, 01/13/2011 - 01:46

I am confused, does the Obama administration think we should have an Internet ID or not:

The Obama administration is pushing back against reports that it is creating an Internet ID for all Americans, saying that it is part of a public-private partnership to develop an online identity for consumers to conduct business safely online.

Exactly how is a "online identity" different from an "Internet ID"? Lest you think I am choosing the quote out of context, the remainder of the article never addresses this issue, but rather adds more confusion and doublespeak:

"Frankly, what we're trying to do is create a marketplace of providers, both public and private, who can do this so there's not one single thing," a senior administration official told "But how do we create a system that works? We think the private sector can do a better job than we can. That's what we're exploring. The big thing we're trying not to do is have big government running this. It has to be a shared partnership."

So, do they want a standard solution, or do they want competing solutions? Why do they need a marketplace of public and private providers, if they realize that the private sector can do a better job (and when there is no current public sector provider)? Are we really to believe that the government will "create" this, but then not define any rules or anything that would entail the government effectively "running" this? Can you ever have a truly "shared partnership" when one "partner" has the size and power of the federal government and the other "partner" is potentially an individual? This entire statement is nonsense. My best translation is as follows:

What we are trying to do is to create a new government entity that will be added to the existing private-sector marketplace for Internet security. But how would the public-sector compete and why would we want to do this when we know that the private-sector can do a better job? Well, the real intent is to track all users of the Internet - thus, the role of the public-sector entity will be to be the "regulator" meaning that all requests for security will have to go through the government authority in order to "ensure competition among the competing private sector solutions." Oh, and the government will be able to track EVERYTHING as a side effect. How do we create a system that works? That's what we're exploring. The big thing we're trying not to do is to make it look like the government is in control, we want it to look like the service is being provided by the private sector - while we force all of those private firms to use our system. That way, people will think that competition remains, even though there is really only one solution that gives the government full control over everyone's Internet identity.

Now perhaps this is overly pessimistic, but haven't we seen enough movies (The Net, Enemy of State) and read enough books (1984, Brave New World) to be a little leery of giving the government control over our Internet identities in ANY way!? Yes, private companies can abuse the information too, but at least the user has a choice and can sue a company if damaged; the user has no control over the government.

This project should be shut down, at least until proper justification is provided.

Barak Obama, Consttitution, Free Speech, security, Internet