if a Web site is yours, you are ethically and perhaps legally responsible for what’s there, whoever wrote it. This is reality; deal with it.
Agreed. I’ve always believed that, which is why for over a decade I’ve advocated cryptographically strong ways to assert online identity. So long as we depend on authentication by name and password, we are frighteningly vulnerable to impersonators who could irreparably damage our online reputations.
Let’s not lose sight of the message that Doc Searls received from Alan Herrell, who says in part:
Just about every online account that i have has been compromised. Most importantly my digital identity and user/password for typepad and wordpress.
The Kathy Sierra mess is horrific. I am not who ever used my identity and my picture!!
I’ve never read Alan Herrell’s now-discontinued blog, and know nothing about his involvement in this whole affair, but the fact is that we’re all vulnerable to the kind of impersonation that Alan Herrell describes.
There’s no perfect defense. But if I had to use cryptographically strong multi-factor authentication to log into my blog publishing system, and if I also had to digitally sign every one of my entries, I’d be far less vulnerable to malicious impersonation.
As we project more of our personal and professional identities into the Net, we create new demands for supporting infrastructure, and thus new opportunities for commercial services. To the extent that you are your website, you will need — and will pay for — a website that’s as secure, as reliable, and as persistent as you can afford to make it.
Update: I’ve just learned that the anonymous sploggers who run biginternetmall convinced someone that this anonymous ripoff of this item of mine was a legitimate posting. Yet another facet of the same issue.