Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

I was on the phone trying to consolidate two mileage accounts on the same airline. The operator needed the address, phone number and other details of the card I had registered in 1996. I had no idea. I started googling. Bits and pieces were all over the Net. I was able to "authenticate" my identity based on this info including my phone number in a mailing list post that I found. Where would I be without Google. On the other hand, I wonder if we have to think about better authentication for the post-Google era. Don't blog about your mother's maiden name or the name of your pet. ;-p


Counter-Googling got me into the European Union through British immigration, even though the Irish authorities took issue with me at another point of entry. The story gave real colour to another of my travel adventures:

So I have to wonder if this might be an omen that bloggers could be targeted for identity theft in the future.
A typical blog gives away so much information about yourself. The kind of real information that can be very useful, or dangerous in the right hands. Cyber-stalking is getting more and more common (like you never googled an old flame), snd I wonder what possible safeguards one can put in place to counteract the increased risk exposure?

It's up to the blogger to lockdown nuggets of verification. I call them "personal veracity components" and they revolve around challenging other people to verify your standing. Basic FOAF does some of this. To minimise the potential for total identity compromise, I blog under one common name and keep identity documents and travel visas under a unique spelling of my given name. You can counter-google both but the travel name reveals specific facts about me that are written by a credible source and fact-checked before uploading. UK immigration checked only those places. According to my server logs, they didn't trawl my blog. I wouldn't rely on my blog identity to get me through checkpoints that use first generation counter-Googling tactics.

Excellent Joi!

I knew something practical like this would work.

Check out this similar DigitalID Lite authentication concept i came up with in earlier in the year.


So much for the "multiple identities" and privacy advocate.


Dirk, actually, "all the more reason" in my mind.

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FOAF confluence from Ted Leung on the air
August 27, 2003 5:19 PM

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