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Own your identity (2011) (marco.org)
75 points by Tomte on Mar 19, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 14 comments

This always reminds me of an idea that I wish were implemented.

I want to be able to pay a single lump sum to have a "digital safe deposit" of sorts. A physically secured file server with guaranteed data integrity over the length of my life that is encrypted in a way which guarantees I am the only person that ever has direct access. Instead of releasing all of your photos, videos, messaging, etc. to random third party companies that will come and go, you could build a safe repository of your entire life's data output. You could then allow API access to this data to any service you wished, under as strict of terms as you wish. These services would compete on the basis of security and customer service, rather than advertising eyeballs.

We sort of have this model with things like Facebook, but the incentives are corrupt because Facebook makes money by spreading your data, rather than making money by protecting your data. It's going to take a rethink of the entire system. It almost seems like there's a need for a government service to handle this.

"In an Urbit world, your data is no longer trapped in a jumble of proprietary servers. Your urbit is a permanent, versioned, typed archive the size of your digital life."


This is very important and we don't stress it enough. Sure, it's easier to just type that stuff into facebook/medium/google+/whatever, but then it disappears into that black hole (Facebook is especially egregious in that regard) and you don't own it anymore. Others own it.

The Web was designed to be decentralized, and yet out of laziness we are contributing to it becoming a collection of several huge data silos.

I got my own personal e-mail, after I saw stories about Google randomly shutting down people's Google accounts after weird YouTube disputes.

This way, I can just keep directing e-mails to another address.

Same goes for websites; I can just link to mywebsite.com/cv or whatever rather than other service that may erect registration walls or go down.

Odds are my website links will work for longer than theirs.

Do you really own your domain name? That virtual record kept by an american company?

That's why we use DNSSEC. :)

Again, I deal in relatives, not absolutes, so I'm content with a solution that's comparably better than completely delegating to third parties.

DNSSEC changes nothing about this particular issue. DNSSEC prevents (in theory) malicious third parties from injecting false data. Registrars and TLD operators retain exactly the powers they had status quo ante.

My point here is that both the linked article and your comment propose an ICANN-exclusive solution as the alternative to a Google-exclusive solution.

What makes one solution "comparably better" than the other? Is it the fact that ICANN is legally a non profit org, compared to Google?

At least the major TLDs have a track record that you can own a domain name for decades and swap out all the lower-level service providers (registrar, DNS, actual hosting). Those also have an interest in doing a good job since a) I pay them and b) I can swap them out if they don't. Random social media sites don't have that track record, and are less flexible.

Some platforms have been quite good at longevity as well, but it is unlikely they are going to beat the domain registration system (on which they also depend), and you don't have the option of just moving your content somewhere else and keep the URLs/reference alive. Yes, domains are not 100% stable either (they can be lost to legal action, or fraud/criminal activity), but at least the same level of risk exist for content on other services.

There are interesting attempts at alternatives, but they don't have the reach yet.

I don't view "own your own domain name" as an ICANN-exclusive solution. There are alternative DNS roots. If ICANN's administration of the root DNS servers becomes truly untenable, then it is possible to make a switch and end-users won't even need to know due to recursive DNS resolvers.

If your domain is a .com or a .net, you are also relying on VeriSign. If your domain is in a different TLD, then you are relying on that registry. Beyond that, most of the DNS roots are operated by organizations other than ICANN.

I think that the long history of the Internet and the Domain Name System lends it additional credibility over that of web services operated by companies like Google.

The only thing I can think of when paying for your own domain name and/or email service is what happens when you eventually die? Corporations can outlive human beings hence keeping our content online for the foreseeable future.

> Corporations can outlive human beings hence keeping our content online for the foreseeable future.

This is also a bug. Especially with third-party corporations that have their own motives, and are prone to treat estates differently than they did the person.

If one wants content to be kept online after their passing, then this needs to be setup ahead of time through an explicit arrangement with the host, not just terms in a will that an executor will be powerless to carry out.

I suppose specify in your will what you would like to happen to the content. I have not put much thought into it -- Perhaps have your pages transferred to some type of archive for prosperity and your emails archived and provided to next of kin.

I'm pretty sure my contractual rights, phone numbers, domains, etc. can be inherited like anything else. Since I own a couple of domains with our family name, my descendants may find them useful.

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