[thelist] MS Passport = evil scourge of modern man?

Daniel J. Cody djc at five2one.org
Wed Aug 16 12:05:19 CDT 2000

Peggy Daniels wrote:

> "Am I the only one who is terrified about Microsoft Passport? It seems to me
> like a fairly blatant attempt to build the world's largest, richest consumer
> database, and then make fabulous profits mining it. It's a terrifying threat
> to everyone's personal privacy and it will make today's "cookies" seem
> positively tame by comparison." --Joel on Software
> Is there any validity to this claim?  or is he an alarmist?  As one who is
> required to use all sorts of MS products every day (working for The Man, you
> know), I set up a hotmail account without a second thought.  An easy way to
> keep my personal mail out of my work inbox, or so I thought.  I'm curious to
> hear any reactions you all might have.  Meanwhile, I guess I should work on
> a flexible email plan that gets me off hotmail....

I think he's right on. The more sites that are passport enabled, the
'further' they can track you on the Web. The further they can track you,
the more they know about you and your shopping/browsing habits. The more
they know about your shopping/browsing habits, the more crap they will
try to 'personalize' and sell you. Also, the more they know about your
shopping/browsing habits, the more valuable you become to them..

..its not about banner ads anymore me thinks.. Its more about getting as
much information about a customer as you can and using that information
about those customers to a.) sell to spammers/direct
marketers/retailers/etc b.) 'personalize' your web experience c.) build
an independant, 'passport friendly', collection of websites that attempt
to exclude sites that aren't 'passport friendly'. 

What we all do on the web is a commodity to certain companies and groups
of people who see that information about what we do as a big fat pile of

Also, passport is a flat out security nightmare. f-l-a-t o-u-t :)
someone can now 'hack' your previously benign hotmail account and cruise
from there and have access to your passport enabled amazon.com site(with
one-click, 'we remember your credit card number so you dont have to'
technology), have access to your passport enabled
My.quicken.com(example) financial information, and access to your
passport enabled my.proctologist.com(another example :) medical
history... You can see the potential here..

Of course MS talks up security, and how passport will 'give you the most
secure shopping experience on the Everyday Web' - but you just can't
trust them based on past performance(hotmail alone, never mind
applications) and the pure potential for gain that crackers/hackers see
in passport.

At any rate, I'm rambling, but its a slow day here too :)


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