The translucent veil

As we shift to an economy based on access to networked services more than on ownership of goods, translucency will be harder to achieve. Identity, after all, is a condition of access to such services. Even so, when customer data need not necessarily be personalized, translucency is a powerful technique that can meet your requirements, satisfy your customers, and keep the feds happy too. [Full story at]
When I challenged Peter to nail down the practical uses and limits of translucency, he responded with an analysis of how Amazon might apply it. He concludes that it would be practical for Amazon to avoid storing a lot of data, and notes that the problem is really more in our heads than in our databases:

Of course, just because an idea is simple and stops terrorism (among other things), doesn't mean that it can or will be widely adopted. I think the resistence in ourselves is deeply buried, perhaps even below our logical layer. Many people still feel a packrat's instinct with data. They feel that this information should be kept around, just in case. This is a natural human wish, but it should also be balanced by the just as natural aversion to responsibility. Most businesses don't have to pay the price if a customer's identity gets stolen, their credit cards get cloned, or their bank account is raided. This may change as more people and businesses become aware of the danger of misused information and the responsibility to protect it. []

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