Web passport

A reader's view, December 2009
OECD Observer

You say that "in the UK, the Home Office estimates that ID fraud costs £1.7 billion (US$330 billion) to the UK economy, nearly 50% up on 2002." ("Online identity theft", in No 268, June 2008) If everyone is given a "place" on the net where people can be contacted, that also creates an opportunity for people to protect themselves. But this "place" must be made safe, and therefore must be seen by governments as part of their country's normal infrastructure. Integrity is the key word. 

I have a basic security system on my site, but who am I? Can I be trusted on the web? A simple site, maybe in combination with some kind of "digital signature", would provide people with at least some degree of protection by making it possible for them to prove their identity. Just like issuing a passport, it should be fairly easy to do, although it may never entirely stop fraud on the net. But like a passport, your web identity should be protected by your country. If nothing has been done so far, it is simply becasue governments do not recognize their citizens' identities on the web.

Identity security is no longer an issue only to be addressed by "the net" itself. Countries should stop talking about web security and do something to make the Internet a part of their infrastructure. 

—Thomas Hansen, Denmark, http://th.direct-mail.me 

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©OECD Observer December 2009 

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