Sunday, August 06, 2006

Who speaks for the trees?

Kim Cameron ponders on the MySpace 'salute' mechanism for identity verification (of sorts).

In MySpace's FAQ, the answer to 'Someone is pretending to be me - what do I do?' includes:

In order to verify your identity, please send us a "salute". This means we will need an image of yourself holding a handwritten sign with the word "" and your Friend ID

Beyond the environmental trajedy of the trees that will be cut down to supply paper for these signs, Kim points out the difficulties with this scheme, arising I think from the fact that the MySpace staffers aren't at all qualified to say which face (unless some celebrity) goes with an identity. The people who are qualified to make this distinction are those that know the person outside of MySpace and so can say 'Uhh, Bob doesn't have red hair and breasts ...'

Maybe the mechanism should require that there be two people in the picture, one claiming 'I am Bob' and one attesting 'I am Tony and this (pointing) is indeed Bob'. But, then who attests to the attestor's identity? Ok, three people in the photo ....

I have to wonder why they stipulate that the URL on the sign be hand written. To prevent automated machine salutes?

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