Technorati Tags: identity
It seems to me that there is a firm business foundation to all of this. The author Don Tapscott talks about the ‘see through’ age saying that
You can’t hide anything anymore.
He’s talking about it from a kind of whistleblowing perspective, saying that if companies get up to no good then they will be found out because of blogs and cameraphones, e-mail and memory sticks. In the magazine piece, he ticks off example after example of corporations that have recently been humiliated after being caught trying to conceal stupid blunders. There’s Sony, which put a rootkit – a piece of spyware – on music CDs as a secret copy-protection technique, only to wind up in court when bloggers revealed that the code left their computers vulnerable to hacker intrusions. There’s Microsoft, this time on the wrong side of the transparent shower curtain, offering to pay people to buff up the company’s Wikipedia entry. And Diebold, which insisted its voting machines were unhackable – until a professor posted a video of himself rigging a mock election on them. The video went viral and racked up some 300,000 YouTube views.
But there’s another aspect to this, I think. If you can’t keep things secret, proprietary, controlled then you can’t compete on that basis anymore. On the other hand, it’s very hard to compete on the basis of reputation, because reputation has to be earned over time, it has to be built up step-by-step and it has to be “awarded” by the right population. It’s all about the subnetworks, again. But this perspective indicates that once reputation becomes the basis of competition then it will be much harder, not much easier, for new entrants to get a foothold. You might have a great product, but if no-one trusts you then how do you persuade anyone to try it?
To make trust, reputation and the economy built on them work properly, though, we need digital identity, digital signatures and real security. But as I said last night, the disruptive innovation will probably be triggered by the arrival of brands in the identity space. My mum’s never heard of Verisign, but she has heard of Marks & Spencer, so when Marks & Spencer offer to manage her identity and reputation, there’s the potential for change.
These opinions are my own (I think) and are presented solely in my capacity as an interested member of the general public [posted with ecto]