Internet Driver’s License

“Craig Mundie, Microsoft’s Chief Research and Strategy Officer, recently called for the creation of an ‘Internet Driver’s License’ at the World Economic Forum in Davos, saying, ‘If you want to drive a car you have to have a license to say that you are capable of driving a car, the car has to pass a test to say it is fit to drive and you have to have insurance.’ Really? It’s been a while since I’ve seen something so:

  1. Brilliant: As it will serve to start some VERY heated discussion
  2. Dumb: Do you need a license to use your phone, access a public space, enter a public library
  3. Sycophantic: such obvious fawning obsequiousness towards special interests shows real colour.
Over the years I have heard many people chime in on a general “right” to access that which we call the internet. Some have even gone as far as to question the general right/ability to post anonymously. Posing that nobody really needs it. Really? Seriously? Maybe we should require people to register all their activity with their local government office as well? Check. Or perhaps give them general access to your (perceived) private communications. Oh… wait that’s already happening. Imagine if somebody with a uniform and badge walked up to you and “required” you to provide identification and then noted
  • what you were reading at the library
  • who you were calling from your phone/a pay phone (do they still even exist?)
  • what you were looking for at the visitor center
  • etc.
Those examples seem ridiculous but so is the idea of an “internet license.”
Look, it’s like this. Not everybody is bad, and not everybody is perfect. If you try and implement something like this, though highly improbable, it’s not inconceivable that one day some internet storm troopers are gonna be looking to ask you a few questions down the road. So hide the clown porn…
Maybe somebody should propose that a license be required if you want to be allowed to create your own standards, operating systems, and applications?