Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

Roger Clarke, one of my favorite privacy experts and the person I learned the notion of separation of "entities" and "identities" has written a paper about the problems with ENUM. I wrote about ENUM when Australia announced their initiative. I am on a mission to make sure that Japan doesn't try to link ENUM with the national ID...

Roger Clarke
From: Roger Clarke
Subject: Glitterati: ENUM: Case Study in Social Irresponsibility

I've just finished a paper on a proposed Internet scheme that will have extremely serious implications if it's implemented:

ENUM - A Case Study in Social Irresponsibility

As always, constructively negative feedback much appreciated.


ENUM is meant to provide a means of mapping from telephone numbers to IP-addresses: "today, many addresses; with ENUM, only one", as its proponents express it.

Any such capability would be extremely dangerous, providing governments, corporations, and even individuals, with the ability to locate and to track other people, both in network space, and in physical space. The beneficiaries would be the powerful who seek to manipulate the behaviour of others. It would do immense social, sociological and democratic harm.

The astounding thing is that the engineers responsible for it are still adopting the na・e position that its impact and implications are someone else's problem. With converged computing-and-communications technologies becoming ever more powerful and ever more pervasive, engineers have to be shaken out of their cosy cocoon, and forced to confront the implications, along with the technology and its applications.


Outline Description of ENUM
The Context
Implications of ENUM
Responses by the ENUM WG

Roger Clarke

Heavy bloggers will have already seen this article. As we push for more privacy in Japan and I try to get the Japanese government to take a serious look at the value of anonymity, this sort of thing makes it difficult. It looks like a the group of experts were about to be "looks like co-option" fodder, but managed to make enough noise to get word out. I wish I had collaborators like these on my study groups in Japan.

New York Times

Agency Weighed, but Discarded, Plan Reconfiguring the Internet

he Pentagon research agency that is exploring how to create a vast database of electronic transactions and analyze them for potential terrorist activity considered but rejected another surveillance idea: tagging Internet data with unique personal markers to make anonymous use of some parts of the Internet impossible.

The idea, which was explored at a two-day workshop in California in August, touched off an angry private dispute among computer scientists and policy experts who had been brought together to assess the implications of the technology.

The plan, known as eDNA, called for developing a new version of the Internet that would include enclaves where it would be impossible to be anonymous while using the network. The technology would have divided the Internet into secure "public network highways," where a computer user would have needed to be identified, and "private network alleyways," which would not have required identification.

I saw it first on Werblog

Justin does a good job describing blogs and what happens when they go mobile.

From Weblog to Moblog
by Justin Hall, Nov 21 2002

Marc Canter blogs about it...

This week was an energy week for me. Stan Ovshinsky, the CEO of ECD, Bob Stempel, the Chairman (and the former chief executive of GM) and Iris Ovshinsky, the co-founder of ECD and Stan's wife were visiting Tokyo this week. We talked a lot about the relationship between energy and information and the fact that information was codified energy. The more I think about it the more it all starts to fit together into an amazing unified image.

The picture above is ECD's vision of the Hydrogen Economy. Get Carbon out of the picture. Reduce the cycle to the basic elements of the universe. Photons creating energy to break H2O into Hydrogen and Oxygen. Oxygen goes back to the atmosphere and the Hydrogen is stored and transported in the Hydride material. The Hydrogen is later extracted to create energy through combustion or through the creation of electrical energy with a fuel cell. This electricity can be stored in a Hydride battery which is also based on Hydrogen. The electricity obviously can be used for propulsion or be converted into meta-energy, or information. Photos->Hydrogen->Electrons->Bits that’s all we need. No CO2, fossil fuels, Uranium or any of the non-big-bang stuff please. Oh and by the way, the basic material and the phenomenon used to store hydrogen in a solid, the convert hydrogen in to electricity and the store electricity in hydride batteries is the based on the same basic science.

It is almost like the relationship between the mind and the body. The true cost of information is cost of the carrier which is based on the creation of energy. Just as the spirit lives in the mind which is carried inside of the body, Information is carried in bits which are carried on wires by electrons, thrust forward by some sort of energy source.

When I was talking to the Tokyo Power Company information division folks the other day, I realized an interesting thing... Just as the telephone company can provide flat fee traffic over their leased lines because they own the wires and fiber, the power company can provide data center and wires for free because they make money on the power consumption.

At a lunch with Jack Welch, he once said, "I love the Internet because it consumes energy and I sell more turbines."

Because power companies don't have legacy information businesses, they can jump into the information and telecom business unencumbered. If you also consider that the phone company is so leveraged and losing so much of their core revenue, such as voice, I can imagine a world where energy and power is the whole game and IT is just like an appliance that you OWN and only pay to power it. And... eventually with photovoltaics, we'll just have to buy energy conversion devices and get our energy from the sun...

(picture by Carver Mead's Foveon Camera)
Thanks to Gen Kanai for introducing me to David Isenberg. David is famous for many things including his paper "The Rise of the Stupid Network" David was talking a lot about Oil. He says that "Hubbert's Peak", when oil production will begin to drop, will happen in 2003. On the other hand, world energy consumption will increase 66% (USA Today, 1/10/02) from 1999-2020. It's OBVIOUSLY time for the Hydrogen Economy that we're starting to get very excited about.

David was extremely bright and gave me an interesting view into the "prosultants" (vs "consultants") who are smart researchers who trying to figure things out and convey them to people and companies. I guess that's what I try to do in my own small way. He invited me to several interesting conference and I hope to see him more often more now that we are linked.

I was so excited while talking to him that I forgot to take a picture. I had to steal the picture from his web page.