Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

Facing off with the bureaucrats..
Sorry I didn't blog anything yesterday. I've been in overdrive this week with Jun (my chairman) in town and a continuous stream of extremely early morning meetings... Jun was mentioned I that I was spending too much time on this non-work-related stuff. He's right... Anyway...

Yesterday, I started the day with a meeting of our anti-national ID group. I reported on my thoughts of how we should connect the privacy movement with the whistle blower protection law. Since I had the second National ID security oversight committee meeting later in the day, I wanted to get an update from everyone on where things were. One of the things that many of the local governments were asking for was the right to allow their citizens to choose whether they use the National ID system to receive local government services. The ministry had been telling them that that this was not possible. Also, there were some comments that the government was planning to use an extended National ID number as a tax tracking number, which currently is not allowed under the law.

Later in the day, I attended the committee meeting. I made several points. Since they are using Microsoft Windows out-of-the-box, I mentioned that the recent ruling by the DoJ against MS had a clause that made me worried that maybe the US government might include some malicious code in Windows. (There is a clause that says, "any API, interface or other information related to any Microsoft product if lawfully directed not to do so by a governmental agency of competent jurisdiction." Dan writes about it.) Even if they do not, I mentioned that Japan should make an effort to get MS allow us to do a security review of Windows and possibly swap some modules that we do not feel good about. I mentioned that China has successfully made demands on Microsoft and that China was working on desktop Linux for the government.

I told them that should not use the local government ID as the taxpayer ID and that it should be a separate, and hopefully a non-human-readable number.

I mentioned the whistleblower protection bill I was working on and that we should consider building in anonymity and pseudonymity into the law. I said that I thought people should be allowed to anonymously receive clarification on laws and procedure and that they should be allowed to pseudonymously receive guidance and counseling on issues before "going public" with their case, for instance.

Finally, I asked why numbers could not be "opt-in" for the local government ID. I did not receive a satisfactory answer and said that I would like them to explain this to me "off-line".