The CSS Blog Network

The DoD and Internet Identity

Photo: kevinthoule/flickr

Photo: kevinthoule/flickr

From ComputerWeekly via Open Society Fellow Rebecca McKinnon’s Twitter feed :

“The US Department of Defense (DoD) is preparing strategy and policy documents on federated identity management systems that may lead to a national identity system for the United States.”

According to the article, the DoD wants to lay out guidelines for businesses and the government to “set up a system that would allow individuals and organisations to assert their identity and associated privileges, and have them accepted at all levels.”

During the Black Hat Briefings conference last week, the DoD’s Chief Information Assurance Officer Robert Lentz said that with the exchange of information and activity online, the “amount of anonymity” had to be reduced.

ComputerWeek says that Lentz did reiterate that the DoD did not want to control the internet. The DoD will release the strategy and related documents 1 October.

The “amount of anonymity” comment made me shudder a bit, but here’s a quick question: Could the strategy possibly lay the groundwork for internet voting?

CCTV (In-)action

Screenshot of CCTV Arabic logo on website

As China gears up to cash in its credibility tokens, accumulated as a result of its unexpectedly efficient handling of the global financial crisis, it’s more eager than ever to educate the world about itself on its own terms. Through its vast and disciplined state-controlled media machine China is engaging in a massive public relations exercise, presumably to make existing businesses around the world run more smoothly, and to prepare for world domination. Well, not quite.

Like any rising star, China is looking to expand its network of media outlets and to contextualize these so that audiences outside its cultural and linguistic sphere get their daily dose of Chinese news in their local language. It has reportedly budgeted nearly $7 billion for global media expansion and upgrades.

The most recent addition to the Xinhua-People’s Daily-CCTV family is CCTV Arabic, a channel purported to reach nearly 300 million Arab speakers via satellite in the Middle East and Southeast Asia. Undoubtedly it considers this to be a major addition to its current portfolio which, in addition to its monopoly over Chinese media, includes CCTV in English, Spanish and French (plans are in place for Russian and Portuguese channels too).

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Italy: Double Standards

'Povera Patria', courtesy of Daniele Muscetta / flickr

'Povera Patria', courtesy of Daniele Muscetta / flickr

A dogmatic society ruled by organized criminals and an antidemocratic populist leader… Sounds like some post-Soviet state? Well actually, I mean Italy.

I don’t understand why the country continues to enjoy such a privileged place in the EU, the G-8, and among the Western elite generally. Italy shows a serious democratic deficit and presents some worrying features of failing governance. » More

ISN Weekly Theme: Failed States

Resting under a galool tree in Somalia / Photo: Somali Nomad, flickr

Resting under a galool tree in Somalia / Photo: Somali Nomad, flickr


What constitutes a failed state? This week, we will examine that question and more as part of our weekly theme:

Japan: Apologetic (Political) Culture

Taro Aso apologizes to party fellows, 21 July 2009

Today, I, Taro Aso, decided to dissolve the House of Representatives and seek a popular mandate.  [I]mprovident statements I have made caused mistrust among the public and damaged its confidence in politics. […]

This is also with regard to the disunity within the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). My shortcomings have created mistrust among the public, and as the President of the party, I should like to extend my most sincere apologies.

Thus were the words amplified by apologetic bows the Japanese prime minister uttered at a press conference 21 July. In my ears they sounded like the admission of failure and I expected Aso to announce his resignation the next minute.

He did not. After a coup withing his own party failed, Aso is staying firm and is propping up the party for the upcoming general elections.

Japanese politics of recent years can be read as a history of apologies. » More

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