W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-webpayments@w3.org > September 2014

Re: Nigeria launches national electronic ID cards

From: Kingsley Idehen <kidehen@openlinksw.com>
Date: Tue, 02 Sep 2014 11:25:56 -0400
Message-ID: <5405E184.8000308@openlinksw.com>
To: public-webpayments@w3.org
On 9/1/14 10:17 PM, Manu Sporny wrote:
> On 08/30/2014 05:00 PM, Kingsley Idehen wrote:
>> ""The card is not only a means of certifying your identity, but also
>> a personal database repository and payment card, all in your pocket,"
>>  President Jonathan said at the launch in the capital, Abuja. "
>> You have a debit/credit/national identity card hybrid.
>> No comment.
> I've got a few comments. :)
> While this seems like a really horrible idea to data and identity
> privacy folks, it certainly makes me cringe, there are nations and
> cultures that don't think twice about their government tracking their
> every move. I think we should keep that in mind as we build the
> solution. 

I am of British and Nigerian nationality. I know Nigeria very well, 
having lived there for a long time.

This is a major setback for our country, in regards to privacy and 

Nigeria's issue inspired me to pursue Linked Open Data as a life long 
passion, long before the we had the phrase "Linked Open Data".

> The main purpose of this Web Payments work is to provide
> options for citizens, governments, and commercial enterprises.

Yes, and Nigeria isn't a good example. In short, its ID system is the 
antithesis of what I believe you are seeking.

> If some government and their banks want to track their citizens
> movements and expenditures, it would be better for them to use a world
> standard to do it (at least there are efficiencies gained / money not
> wasted there) than build something proprietary.

They SHOULD never be surreptitiously violating the privacy of citizens. 

> As much as it makes my
> skin crawl to say that, this is more or less the deal with the devil
> that the HTTP Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) work had do. 

I don't buy that.

The issue is that Privacy != Secrecy. It is simply about one's ability 
to calibrate one's vulnerability. In the Nigerian case, the govt., for 
all the usual corrupt reasons has sold out to Master Card and really put 
our citizens in a broken situation.

Please note, for most of Nigeria's history, military oppression and 
dictatorships have been the norm. And when the military aren't doing it 
you have a corrupt civilian governments doing much of the same, albeit 
in different ways.

> The people
> that develop software for the Web have a choice to either standardize
> stuff that governments are going to do in a proprietary way (like the
> Nigerian debit/credit/identity card, or continue to keep those functions
> proprietary (thus indirectly contributing to wasted effort and bad
> designs the world over).


> Strong governments with strong, functioning democracies would hopefully
> fight this type of violation of privacy. 

> For those
> governments/corporation initiatives, they should be able to use the same
> set of standards as the non-privacy protecting governments. I think
> we'll be more successful enabling choice rather than mandating solutions
> based on our particular idealism.

Privacy is a non negotiable idealism. Please, don't take your privacy 
lightly, many before us expended blood to get us where we are today. We 
should never ever forget this fact of human history. Let's not make the 
Web our nightmare!!

> If we are successful, the US, EU, Nigeria, China, Hong Kong, and
> Singapore would use the same base financial Web standards with differing
> values on the privacy/tracking/market-based dials.

I wish, but it really isn't going to be that straight forward. What the 
W3C MUST do is devise open standards that do not compromise the privacy 
of Web users. Anything less defeats its mission.

> -- manu


Kingsley Idehen	
Founder & CEO
OpenLink Software
Company Web: http://www.openlinksw.com
Personal Weblog 1: http://kidehen.blogspot.com
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Received on Tuesday, 2 September 2014 15:26:23 UTC

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