Virtual kidnappings; black-market online identities

From remarks by Eric Schmidt to audience at Cambridge University:

“We could see virtual kidnappings – ransoming your ID for real money,” Schmidt said. “Rather than keeping captives in the jungle, groups like Farc [in Colombia] may prefer a virtual hostage. That’s how important our online ID is.”

“But the future will be much more disruptive to terrorists than everyone else. I can’t see them operating out of caves in Tora Bora” – as al-Qaida did after the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. […] Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad reportedly raised suspicions because it didn’t have any internet connection.”

“Our online identity will become such a powerful element. Laws to protect anonymity – we may even see rise in black market where we can buy pre-made or real identities, with all their shopping and background all completely ‘real’ – verifiable online, that is. […] Both drug smugglers trying to evade police and political activists looking to hide from repressive regimes would find those useful, he said: “you’ll be able to buy an identity with fake friends and a history of purchases.”

And one more: “For anyone in the public eye, they will have to account for their past.”

The final big scene in Lincoln is the voice vote on the 13th Amendment. House members names called and they vote yes or no on slavery. If I had to guess, most of those voting against the amendment went to their graves proud of their votes. At least publically. Things move faster these days. If Todd Akin could quietly erase every instance of his “legitimate rape” remarks, would he? How about after he’s dead, would his children — or their children — hit the delte button?

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