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Monthly Archives: December 2002

Mobile Instant Messaging
Howard Reingold has published some interesting thoughts on instant messaging. It also mentions the ever-increasing popularity of Trillian, the IM client that allows you to connect to all of the main IM operators simultaneously.


Friend of a friend
The FOAF project is a method of standardising contact information. The syntax is XML-based and allows very powerful things to be done in the form of visualising social networks.

If everyone used this format and the information was gathered in a central repository, then essentially everyone would be interconnected. Hmmm.

Stealing Identity
Bill Thompson has written about how easy it is to steal online identity:

“We should feel sorry for Philip Nourse’s girlfriend. She was two-timing him, so in a fit of jealousy he logged on to her FriendsReunited account and posted some rather personal pictures, before “borrowing” her e-mail account to inform her friends that they were there.

He is in prison after being convicted of breaking the Computer Misuse Act, but the ease with which he impersonated his girlfriend should worry us all.

After all, it is very simple to sit down at a colleague’s computer and send e-mails which look like they come from them. It is also pretty easy to forge e-mails, as we all see every day when we get spam from fake addresses.

However, there is something we can do about this, and this week sees good news for those of us who want to make sure that people can tell which e-mails we really sent, and which web pages we actually wrote. ”

This is a good example of how identity management goes hand in hand with online privacy and security issues. But to what extent can software really prevent people from stealing identity? Perhaps the best detectors of an imposter are people – it’s just that they need software to open their online senses.