> -----Original Message-----
> From: Paul A.S. Ward [mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED] 
> Sent: Monday, December 29, 2003 11:29 AM
> Subject: RE: Repudiating non-repudiation
> I was recently the subject of identity theft.
> Specifically, the thieves had my SSN (SIN, actually, since it is in
Canada), and my
> driver's licence number.  They produced a fake driver's licence, and used
it to open
> bank accounts in my name.  When this all came to light, the bank wanted a
> document that said that I did not open these accounts or know anything
about them.
> And what was required for notarization?  I had to go to city hall and get
> who had never met me before to look at my photo ID (which was my drivers
> and sign the form saying it was me!  Great system!

I have to look at this as the result of evolution, starting with Walton's
Mountain - the society humans used to have starting with cave men, where
everyone stayed among the tribe where they were born and where everyone knew
everyone else.  A specially trusted person in that tribe/town might be made
a Notary.  A statement by such a notary would mean something.

So, now that the underlying premises that made it all work have evolved out
of existence (with the industrial revolution), with what do we replace those
mechanisms?  If we don't replace them, they'll just keep grinding along and
being meaningless rituals.

Since these are social mechanisms we're talking about, changing them will
take a few centuries, most likely.  What will be the right underlying
axioms/assumptions a few centuries from now?

What shall we do in the meantime?

Christmas season is ending - and once again I heard the readings about the
edict from Caesar that all people return to their home towns to be counted
in a census.  Maybe we can take a lesson from that - and have everyone
return to people who have known the person, uninterrupted, from birth to the
present in order to get anything notarized.  Anyone who couldn't find such
people just couldn't get anything notarized, I guess.

My bet is that we'll evolve reputation credentials to replace notarization
of identity.  Identity doesn't have much definition any more, since we
started moving from one big city to the next every 4 years.  With luck,
cryptography will offer a real solution - and I don't mean via some dumb
attempt to resurrect identity notarization (a la X.509 CAs).

 - Carl

|Carl M. Ellison         [EMAIL PROTECTED]      http://theworld.com/~cme |
|    PGP: 75C5 1814 C3E3 AAA7 3F31  47B9 73F1 7E3C 96E7 2B71       |
+---Officer, arrest that man. He's whistling a copyrighted song.---+ 

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