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Subject: [IP] more on why the SSN needs to go

  • From: Dave Farber <>
  • To: ip <>
  • Date: Sun, 09 Mar 2003 12:00:35 -0500

------ Forwarded Message
From: Bob Frankston <>
Date: Sun, 09 Mar 2003 11:42:32 -0500
To:, "'ip'" <>
Cc: "'Peter Bachman'" <>, David Reed <>
Subject: RE: [IP] why the SSN needs to go

This is a very good point and part of the point about binding handles
instead of identifies. There is the related idea of having a single
phone number for life. But that's so 1950's and before, like the idea of
automation. Instead of ballistic automation, we have interactive and
adaptive systems.

Instead of a number for life, we have binding handles. At a very simple
level we can generate it per-use using crypto techniques (as I've
suggested) and composite it with the key of the entity asking for the
handle. But there is the further point that it need not be associated
with our person. It can also be used for other abstractions such as a
family, role, or corporation. The employer or bank might be able to
verify that it is valid with respect to a purpose and get information
enabled by that particular handle.

The goal is not to assure total anonymity but simply to restore the
balance of control over access to our information and our time. This is
a simple concept that I've been applying to the DNS (which should be an
indirection) and spam (the mail handle should have indirection). It's
basically the old CS idea of capabilities.

------ End of Forwarded Message

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