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

Re: Nigeria launches national electronic ID cards

From: Steven Rowat <steven_rowat@sunshine.net>
Date: Tue, 02 Sep 2014 14:23:12 -0700
Message-ID: <54063540.3080508@sunshine.net>
To: public-webpayments@w3.org
On 9/2/14 8:25 AM, Kingsley Idehen wrote:
> On 9/1/14 10:17 PM, Manu Sporny wrote:
>> 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.

+1 to Kingsley.

Manu, what you appear to be saying is that it's possible to make a 
financial standard that's fully separate from privacy issues, and each 
government will choose how private the users can be in their country.

IMO the revelations from the Snowden docs about the NSA and the Five 
Eyes make this seem a bad goal. Like Kingsley, I believe history (long 
past and recent past) teaches that privacy needs to be baked at a 
technologically advanced level into any ubiquitous system. This will 
force the governments (and corporations, and criminals) to jump 
through hoops to get at the data -- valid ones, involving courts, or 
non-valid ones, involving difficult cyberhacking. Doing the reverse 
will probably precipitate a free-for-all. Trusting governments (or 
anyone) to avoid 'the easy way' of getting the data doesn't seem rational.

It might seem that this issue is more central to the new Identity web 
group, but IMO it crosses over in interesting ways. Perhaps it's true 
that the web payments group isn't the place now for a secure privacy 
technology to be developed -- but it seems to me a  necessary 
condition of the web payments code development that such a technology 
is required to be developed *somewhere*, and that certain sockets are 
built into the payments code that won't permit the system to function 
unless they are fulfilled.

In other words, if the web payments group facilitates a new efficient 
world financial system that can easily be manipulated to run without 
basic privacy considerations -- by one large government or a coalition 
of governments -- this might very well be an invitation to making "the 
Web our nightmare" as Kingsley put it.

Steven Rowat
Received on Tuesday, 2 September 2014 21:23:36 UTC

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