American, do you speak it?

I think Jeff Jarvis has answered his own question. It is the users who should be in control of their identity, and by being in control of their identity they not only control what they want to make public, but also what degree of publicity they allow on their private data.

In order to control identity, some sort of authentication is required. Identity and Security are the bases of privacy. In order to control my privacy, I, and only I, should have access to my data and with whom I want to share it. Security and Identity management, however, are complex. I have more then 60 accounts, from mail, social network tools and sites, banks and services. About half of those account relate to my public identity. Not everyone has the means to establish their own OpenID and Oauth servers and services. It is obvious that Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Apple and twitter are all more then happy to take this role for us. While we can make a case that entrepreneurs might need a IT expertise, can we make the same case for the consumer? If we see the future as one in which the entrepreneurs and the consumer can switch roles, or even be the same, then yes, I think we should.

This is yet another reason why commenting and talk-backs on media sites is so pathetic. No only more of a graffiti on the newspaper wall, the lack of identity makes the opinions presented less valuable, as you have no way to evaluate who the speaker is, nor the context from which they are speaking. An Israeli economic news site, has made an interesting split. While keeping the old style of talk-backs, it has in place a forum system, to which you register, that allows for a more threaded discussion. This allow reader to react both anonymously and publicly. If only they would open to trackbacks from other sites, I think they would have had the best of all worlds.

I believe much of this is due to the American belief that "the market will sort itself out". As we have seen in the last two year in wall street, that is not always the case. As the news business has been in trouble for over a decade, main stream media has failed in it's role as watchdog, both in economy and in technology. As the larger corporation, both in the economic market, as in the technology sector, as US companies, it is of little wonder the rest of the world - with the EU in lead - regards them with trepidation. American should only look at their cell phone, cable and internet bills and services and compare them to the rest of the world.

What we need is accountability. This can be via media vigilance, government regulation or civic action. It is even better when it's a combination thereof. The first step is education, most importantly, educating each other. We have the tools: twitter, facebook and buzz....

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