America Online never stops telling us about how vigorously it strives to protect its members from spam, viruses, spyware, identity theft and all sorts of other fraudulent behavior on the Internet.
What it doesn’t talk about is this: What chance do we have when AOL itself is a participant in, or at least a beneficiary of, the fraud?
That’s the question implicit in the story I’m about to relate.
Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society is joining with a consortium of technology companies, including IBM Corp. and Novell Inc., today to unveil an ”open security” project aimed at creating software to give people more control over their online identities.
[…] For individuals, such a system promises a ”single sign-on” enabling the sharing with third parties of personal information, ranging from bank and credit card accounts to medical records and phone numbers, said John H. Clippinger, senior fellow at the Berkman Center at Harvard Law School.
Clippinger said the system will enable people to share tiers of their digital data with different parties, giving broader access to doctors, for example, than to cable companies.
”The web wasn’t designed with a security layer in it, so we’re addressing that missing piece,” Clippinger said. ”This is a whole new system called ‘open security’ where the control point is the individual.”