W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-credentials@w3.org > August 2017

Re: Stopping "Bots" and "Fake News"

From: David Chadwick <D.W.Chadwick@kent.ac.uk>
Date: Sat, 12 Aug 2017 11:13:08 +0100
To: public-credentials@w3.org
Message-ID: <cdc9030c-1c97-a17e-c9e5-29338bca2afe@kent.ac.uk>
Hi Adam

You are correct in saying that VCs can easily enable users to present
their real names to web sites. The practical difficulty I envisage, at
least in the short term, is not in developing easy to use GUIs (I think
these already exist), but rather in getting an authoritative source such
as a government department to issue a VC containing your registered
name. Besides the bureaucracy that is involved in getting the government
to implement the VC technology, it is quite likely that no government
department has a correct list of all its citizens. It is well known that
some citizens have multiple SSNs, have different names in different
systems, and many systems do not have a complete register (e.g. passport
and driving licence systems). So who does the inspector trust?

If a site such as Facebook trusts a non-authoritative source to issue a
VC containing your name, then we are no better off, as fake news
providers will simply register a fake name with the non-authoritative VC
issuer.

Perhaps banks, who are now using very strong 'know your customer' rules
before they will open a new bank account, due to strong international
money laudering rules, could be the best option as a trusted issuer.

regards

David

On 11/08/2017 19:33, Adam Sobieski wrote:
> Credentials Community Group,
> 
> I would like to broach the role that credentials technologies may play
> in curtailing “fake accounts”, “bots”, “spam”, “hoaxes” and “fake
> news”.  I hope to indicate to you the importance of credentials systems
> and of securing such systems.
> 
> Consider uses of credentials when creating new accounts or updating
> existing accounts, e.g. social media. Envision a popup or alert, “this
> website wants to know your real name.”  With social media, users are
> expected to presume to authenticity of their fellow users and it makes
> sense for users to choose to allow the services to access their real
> names, and possibly dates of birth.
> 
> “People come to Facebook to make meaningful connections. From the
> beginning, we’ve believed that can only be possible if the interactions
> here are authentic – and if people use the names they're known by. We’ve
> found that when people represent themselves on Facebook the same way
> they do in real life, they act responsibly. Fake accounts don’t follow
> this pattern, and are closely related to the creation and spread of
> spam. That’s why we’re so focused on keeping these inauthentic accounts
> and their activity off our platform”
> (https://www.facebook.com/notes/facebook-security/improvements-in-protecting-the-integrity-of-activity-on-facebook/10154323366590766/). 
> Furthermore, social “bots” play a major role in spreading “fake news”
> (https://www.technologyreview.com/s/608561/first-evidence-that-social-bots-play-a-major-role-in-spreading-fake-news/).
> 
> Credentials and verifiable claims systems are of use in quickly
> separating real users from “fake accounts” and “bots”.  Credentials
> should be as easy and intuitive for users to initialize and to configure
> as installing operating systems or configuring digital wallets.
> 
> If we get credentials systems right, and secure, we can stop “fake
> accounts” and “bots” and we can curtail “spam”, “hoaxes” and “fake news”
> – we can defend digital democracy.
> 
> 
> Best regards,
> Adam Sobieski
> http://www.phoster.com/about/
> https://www.w3.org/community/argumentation/
> https://www.w3.org/community/collaboration/
> 
> P.S.:
> http://comprop.oii.ox.ac.uk/2017/07/17/troops-trolls-and-trouble-makers-a-global-inventory-of-organized-social-media-manipulation/
> (http://comprop.oii.ox.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/sites/89/2017/07/Troops-Trolls-and-Troublemakers.pdf)
> http://comprop.oii.ox.ac.uk/2017/07/18/spreading-fake-news-becomes-standard-practice-for-governments-across-the-world/
> http://comprop.oii.ox.ac.uk/2017/07/18/government-cyber-troops-manipulate-facebook-twitter-study-says/
> https://www.belfercenter.org/project/defending-digital-democracy
Received on Saturday, 12 August 2017 10:13:38 UTC

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