Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

Lights, Camera....

...and there was no action.

As we approach the August 5 start date for the national ID, Yoshiko Sakura, Ben Shimizu and I (with a lot of help from Gosuke Takama) are leading a drive to sign up as many politicans as possible to pass a bill freezing the start of the national ID program for 3 years until we can have sufficient public debate and technical planning. The architecture is bad, the security sucks, there aren't sufficient guidelines on what the government can use the information for and there is no watchdog organization or even a privacy commissioner. Having said that, even if the security was better and there were a privacy commissioner, I still would be against the national ID. The architecture is wrong and the basic approach to information about people is wrong. There are much better ways to do the same thing without using a single IC card and a single human readable 11 digit number. 83% of Japanese interviewed in a recent survey don't even know that the national ID program exists!

Last week, Yoshiko Sakurai with her amazing pursuasiveness signed up many of the leading LDP politicans including Kamei, Hirasawa and Shiozaki as well as members of all of the major opposition parties. Yesterday was a press conference to announce that we had signed up enough diet members to stop the August 5 launch... not. Over the last few days very strong invisible forces moved to try to squash our movement by putting pressure on the politicans supporting our movement. Koizumi-san, who I strongly support, made a stupid comment yesterday saying that he was for the National ID. (Never attribute to malice, that which can be sufficiently explained by stupidity. I guess in this case, ignorance.) The mayor of Yokoyama, the young Nakata apparently rushed to see Koizumi-san and explain that he should not support the National ID. The dark forces were very quick to label our movement as anti-Koizumi. Sakurai-san is trying to get us a meeting with Koizumi-san to explain the situtation to him and get him to understand. The press conference ended up being us, a bunch of press and the few bold politicians willing to publicly show their support to our movement. (The photo is a picture of the Network TV cameras from my seat. The empty area in the middle was where we were going to seat the politicians. The room is a room in the diet offices building.)

So, we're not back to the drawing board, but have been pushed back once again. With the US pushing for a privacy czar and concerns being raised in the global debate, I'm hoping that the global environment might help... but this may be wishful thinking.

Anyway, if you don't hear from me for awhile, call the Amnesty International and tell that I was last seen protesting the Japanese National ID.


Quoted from Slashdot (I quoted the whole thing since it is short. Thanks for finding this Sen!)

Posted by timothy on Tuesday July 09, @06:36PM
from the private-enterprise dept.
davecl writes: "The off-shore datahaven, HavenCo, is doing well, according to the BBC. HavenCo is based on a WW2 gunnery platform several miles of the English coast. In the 60s it was outside the 3 mile territorial waters, and a retired Army officer moved there and proclaimed it the independent state of Sealand. In the 80s territorial waters were extended to 12 miles. Sealand's nation status is this unclear, but this hasn't stopped HavenCo setting up their data haven. Customers are largely gambling sites, but an increasing number of political groups, such as the Tibetan Government in Exile, are based there in an effort to escape government censorship. More regulation of the web means more customers, and business is booming. Wonder if others will see this as a way of making money out of beating censorship?" We've mentioned Sealand several times before -- it's great to hear they're defying the skeptics.

I was one of the early investors in Havenco and a great fan of the concept. I was also one of the first customers. I have a Sealand flag in my office...

Glad to hear they are doing well.

etoy also have a server on at Havenco.

If you haven't seen this, it's a great site. We gave it a Golden Nica this year at the Prix Ars Electronica.

From the Prix Ars Electronica web page:

Golden Nica Josh On, Futurefarmers (USA): "They Rule" Database visualization is an important area of interactive design. "They Rule" is an excellent example of this kind of project. It attempts to demonstrate the relationships between some of America's most powerful corporate executives by visually showing you which companies they are involved with, and how these companies might gain from such a relationship.

The interface, once you get it, is pretty easy. There was a map of the Trilateral Commission, it's members and the boards that they sit on. (Here is a speech I gave at the Trilateral). You can see all of the board members of a company, other boards they sit on, donations they have made, all mined from public sources presented in an elegant design.

Saegusa-san just turned 60 which is an important birthday in Japan. It is called kanreki. The first birthday party was a suprise party at Blue Note Tokyo after the Enjin01 meeting. The second party was at a small temple in Akasaka and we wore traditional Japanese summer ukata. There were booths with sushi, curry, yakitori and traditional Japanese games. And lots of beer. This picture is Mizuka, Saegusa-san and me at the temple. About 400 people came. It was a very eclectic crowd with ex-prime ministers, artists, company presidents, journalists and actors. I did feel a bit young. When someone asked me where I was going dressed in a ukata, I said, "to my friend's kanreki party", and they looked at me kind of funny. I guess it's not so strange calling people 25 years older than you "friends" in the US, but in Japan it is strange enough to be gramatically incorrect. For some reason, most of my best friends are all much older than me. Interestingly, many of their wives are Mizuka's age. ;-p

Gene was one of the co-founders of Gnutella and a very outspoken leader in the P2P movement. He co-founded Infrasearch which was acquired by Sun Microsystems.

I'm not sure about this, but read this on boingboing and boingboing pointed to an obituary "written by one of Gene's co-founders from Infrasearch"

The obituary says:

Gene was a unique individual. He was quiet and perceptive, kind and honest, possessing a quick wit and a questioning mind. During the last two years we made good and bad decisions, were happy and sad at the same moments, and after selling InfraSearch always wanted to work together again. Gene Kan, my best friend, tragically passed away on June 29th, 2002. I knew Gene not through articles or interviews. I knew him as the guy I could call when I was having trouble changing a flat tire - and as someone who would say "stay right there, I'll be there in ten minutes." He was the guy I could ask if my tie was correctly knotted or what his thoughts on the Israeli Prime Minister were. He was someone that would check his character judgements with me and someone who would start whispering to me a hilarious idea in the middle of a boring meeting. In this land of minute friendships started at "events" and held up by lunch meetings, I've experienced two emotions that are equally impossible to describe: happiness to have called him my friend and the overwhelming, all-devouring sense of loss.

I met Gene around the end of 2000 at a conference in Kyoto organized by Mitsuhiro Takemura. He took a very strong position about how copyright was dead and took it much stronger then me, leaving me without my usual corner in the discussion. He was really into cars and I remember talking a lot about cars with him at lunch. I also remember being astonished that he was 10 years younger than me, which is a strange feeling in Japan where most people are older than me...

He contacted me recently because his roommate was looking for a Buick Regal Grand National and Gene remembered from our conversation that I had one. In an email response to a question about what he was thinking of doing next, he said:

I'm thinking of doing something with aftermarket car parts manufacturing, since I have some friends and personal experiences. I haven't thought of anything cool and important to do in computers....

Goodbye Gene. We'll miss you.