Thursday, February 03, 2005

Micro Mogul Integrates Belgians into MSN Messenger

Microsoft Mogul Bill Gates is on tour in Europe. Not only to lobby the European Paliament on software patents, but also to celebrate a partnership with the Belgian government on the upcoming electronic identification card (e-ID) into Microsoft Messenger: "I'm pleased to announce that we are moving forward to integrate e-ID technology into MSN Messenger," said Gates at a press conference (link, partly Dutch).

Yes, Microsoft is getting its technological hands on the identity cards of 8 million Belgians. But not to worry, according to the under secretary of information, the "card contains a very strong security key that cannot be broken". So, Microsoft or third-parties will not be able to extract personal data for, let's say, (commercial) profiling. If I were a Belgian I'd feel much more secure to know that my data are not only stored in a government's database, but that they are integrated with an American privacy loving company that has a great track record on security (holes).
But all worries about privacy are taken away by the government's site explanation of why there should be an internet compatibility for the e-ID in the first place:
Anonymity [...] seems like the best guarantee for our privacy on the internet. This may be true, but in reality we are never anonymous when we use the internet (even if we don't use our name or pseudonyms). Surfing on the net gives us a temporary visible identity, as we are connected with a cookie, an IP-address or a telephone number.

Since the anonymity cannot be guaranteed, the protection of privacy has to be guaranteed by a structure. Within that structure some rights have to be assigned to persons (citizens) who are the subjects of the stored data. The users of these data (the administrations) have to respect certain obligations when they consult these data. (Shortened official English version here)
So, if I understand it correctly, because the education of citizens in anonymous internet usage provides less security than an "unbreakable" ID card, which is teamed up with a commercial giant that regularly produces security leaks the size of bagel holes and comes from a country that writes privacy in dollar signs, structures have to be erected? If I lived in Belgium I'd erect a structure extending from the middle of my hand with four fingers clamped down to this blattering sales talk.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home