Subject: [IP] An Identity Protection Racket?
Begin forwarded message:
From: Bob Frankston <Bob19firstname.lastname@example.org> Date: July 26, 2006 6:14:36 PM EDT To: Dave Farber <email@example.com> Subject: An Identity Protection Racket?
I just called to activate my new debit card and had to endure a spiel about why I should sign up for their credit reporting system in order to protect me from identity theft.
In my mind I translated the message – the bank says that they are using a simplistic and mindless system to establish my “identity”. Today banks make a large part of their money off fees like those for bounced checks.
Identity theft is a bonanza for the banks – they can charge me a fee that is a result of their ineptness. If consumers weren’t so naïve they wouldn’t put up with having the banks create a problem and then charging them for the antidote.
If consumer verification of information is an essential part of the system shouldn’t the onus be on the banks and others to provide such information as a matter of course rather than charging for it.
As long as we call it ‘identity theft” rather than “bank sloppiness” we’ll continue to pay for the damage and find ourselves paying for protection.
It’s another example of a self-perpetuating system. It’s not just telecom that has such perverse incentives (as I point out in http:// www.frankston.com/?name=Folly).
At least for “identity” there may be opportunities for alternative systems – the primary advantage of today’s simplistic systems is that they don’t require communicating with a third party. With a connected infrastructure there should be far better solutions – though, of course, such integration creates an irresistible point of observation and control … maybe I should start establishing new personas
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