When IT Meets Politics

Sep 19 2010   12:18PM GMT

There is nothing quite so dangerous as ignorance in motion

Philip Virgo Profile: Philip Virgo

Tags:
Bloatware
electronic signatures
Identity governance
Notaries
RIPA
UNCITRAL

The European Commission is about to review the Electronic Signatures Directive. The proposals will need to be looked at in the context of the NATO drive for a PKI-based common identity root – initially for government employees and contractors. We should remember that the last set of proposals to supposedly clarify the law on electronic signatures were initially bound up with back doors for surveillance by the security services and tied to RIPA. What is it that is needed that is not covered by the UNCITRAL model law on Electronic Commerce, including its provisions on electronic signatures?

The UNCITRAL model has been adopted by 23 Countries, including China France, the UK overseas dependencies (plus Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Guernsey, Jersey, isle of Man etc.), 49 of the States of the USA and 11 of those of Canada (with Quebec having a variation!). 

 

What is it that unites the South Americans, India and South Africa in not liking the provisions regarding electronic signatures?

 

Is it to do with the difference between Common and Roman Law traditions and the role (business models) of the notaries?

 

What is the real driving force behind the commission proposals?

 

Watch this space for the small print of what is proposed and its effect on the position of the City of London as a pre-eminent global trading centre.

 

Remember that it is easier to kill an unnecessary, counter-productive, stupid or dangerous proposal before it gathers momentum and allies – including all those technophiliacs seeking to sell us bloatware under the guise of “security”, “customer service”  and “ease of use” while our broadband services are already grinding to a halt with clogged  backhaul and more metadata than context.

 

P.S. Goethe actually said “Nothing is as terrifying as ignorance in motion”. It no longer terrifies me. I have grown to expect it as each generation of technophiliacs ignores what previous generations have learned from painful experience. The ignorance, on all sides, behind current debates on electronic identity is more dangerous than terrifying. I do not apologise for returning to this subject yet again. And will proably do so again tomorrow. 

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