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Exploring the science and magic of Identity and Access Management
Saturday, May 25, 2024

Identity Commandments

Author: Mark Dixon
Saturday, August 13, 2005
7:20 am

Don’t do no dumb stuff.” – JoAnn Larsen*

James Kobielus’ recent Network World article, "Identity
theft threatens federation
," highlights an issue I’ve been pondering
for some time – how threats to the integrity of online interaction accelerate
because an ever-increasing number of rotten apples do dumb stuff.

Moses did understand our era. If we all obeyed
at least four of those 3,000-year old Ten Commandments, this bad stuff wouldn’t

  • Thou shalt not covet – don’t lust for something that’s not your’s.
  • Thou shalt not steal – don’t take stuff you want without paying.
  • Thou shalt not bear false witness – don’t lie about it, whether
    or not you get caught.
  • Thou shalt not kill – don’t blow up the guy who says you shouldn’t
    do these things.

, the fourth president of the United States, known as "The Father
of Our Constitution" put it this way: "We have staked the whole of
all our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government,
upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves,
to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God."

I’d bet President Madison would roll over in his grave if he saw people adopting
the philosophy I saw emblazoned on a t-shirt recently, "It’s not illegal
if you don’t get caught.

Civil society is based upon mutual

– confidence that each member of the
society will respect each other’s rights and abide by time-tested, fundamental
principles of honesty and truth – not because someone else mandates trustworthy
actions, but because it is the right thing to do. Conversely, to the extent
people abandon the principles upon which trust is based, society loses its civility.

We Identarati
fight the consequences of broken trust. Countless hours of thought and millions
of dollars of resources are poured into the premise that bad stuff will happen
and we must be ready. The philosophy of "opposition in
all things" applies here in spades.

*JoAnn Larsen is my sister in law, a great person and frequent
author of pithy sayings.


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