Looking at the recent agreement between MySpace and 49 Attorney’s General brought to mind the realities of Internet security. In reality the actions MySpace will take will only eliminate the dumb exploiters of the system. Any person with a basic knowledge of the Internet could circumvent their measures with ease. There is no real chance for there to be any real certainty of who you are dealing with online with the current system. You can see my name in the header of this post, but how do you know it is my real name? In this case it is, but you either have to take my word for it or do some exhaustive research to track me down and confirm I am who I say I am.
I think there is a place for a tiered Internet, where there is a section that is only accessible to a user with a confirmed identity. The problem with this idea is the same as with DRM though, how do you create a system that is not hackable? We cannot even get a non-Internet identification that is hack proof. Passport, drivers licence, social security. Each of these can be falsified, and one of these type of identifications would need to be used as a base to provide the Internet security. This is a key problem that needs to be solved if we are to create a secure Internet.
I do not think there is a need for the whole Internet to be secure. If there was a way for an identity to be confirmed online though, it would enable a sub-segment of the net that was id confirmed. This would allow a section of the web where you can feel free to reveal more than you should on the regular Internet in the security that you can accurately track to person you are dealing with to a real person. This would abviously be the areas where banks and some social networking sites would reside. This is a key requirement for there to be any real certainty of identity and will be a very useful enhancement to the web.