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A solution for the individual to regain control of their identity

The Problem I. The identity of an individual can be taken as the sum total of the information that uniquely identifies the individual and allows the individual to transact in a social and commercial environment.

II. Historically that identity was held as paper documents maintained by government organizations and by certain commercial organizations. Verification was done using photographs and the verification of documentations by Notaries.

III. As many aspects of the identity are now held in electronic format and the ease of which paper documentation is produced from those electronic forms, the historic system of identity verification is now highly vulnerable.

IV. This is evidenced by the increase in identity theft and resulting commercial fraud. As internet access is becoming ubiquitous and commercial transactions are rapidly moving to internet based business, the risk of an individual's identity being stolen can only increase. Hacking, phishing, virus attacks and other methods of obtaining identity information are on the rise and are poorly protected by PGP systems.

V. Less fraudulently but no less significant is the rise in direct marketing activities, to the extent that not only are they becoming a nuisance to the individual, but the return on investment is now making it infeasible to engage in unsolicited direct marketing as even though many electronic activities are free, the damage done to brand and reputation can mean negative returns on investment.

VI. In the world of direct marketing, key aspects of the individual's identity are now being traded daily on marketing lists, without any controls on accuracy or on who is involved in the trading. Not only are identities being traded on bona-fide marketing lists, but are also being traded for fraudulent use.

To summarize, the identity, assets and privacy of the individual are increasingly at risk in an unregulated and unsecured system.

minority report

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