6 of One

You know, there are times when I wonder about journalism. You see, the BBC has had, on successive days, two contradictory stories. The first, published on Wednesday, was about how the public is worried about online identity fraud and stated that 13% [of people] had abandoned online shopping. Then on Thursday they ran an article about how online shopping was in rapid growth despite falling high-street sales. They state that it had tripled from 13.4% to 30%, (of what I don’t know). So, 13% of online shoppers had stopped shopping online, but roughly another 200% had started? I don’t think so.

So, that means, I reckon, that whoever did the first survey either asked: a) a bunch of numpties, b) a bunch of luddites who didn’t shop online anyway or c) just plain made the stats up.

Rather interestingly, the people who were worried about online identity fraud, thought the proposed scheme for a mandatory ID card would solve their worries. Now, I’m not sure if I’m for or against the ID card scheme yet, it’s technically tough, and the government doesn’t have a good reputation for big (any) IT contracts, it’s open to abuse, it’ll probably be insecure, there’s a ton of possible misuses and I doubt it’ll actually solve any of the things they want it to. If someone can obtain a false birth certificate or passport, what makes the ID card any more secure? But aside from that, what relevance has it got to online identity theft? You’re still going to enter your card details and people are still going to be able to grab them if you’re stupid. You’re not going to be able to link your cards to your ID number (yes, we will all be a number in future, when you go into any government office you’ll be referred to as Mr/Mrs 987563452).

Maybe we should have a web equivalent of the driving test. Check who to install and run a firewall and anti-virus, through a few phishing email at them to see how they cope and a couple of emails with trojans attached called things like Anna Kornikova and if they open them you don’t let them connect to the internet.