Academic journal article Journal of Information Ethics

The Economics of Identity Theft: Avoidance, Causes and Possible Cures

Academic journal article Journal of Information Ethics

The Economics of Identity Theft: Avoidance, Causes and Possible Cures

Article excerpt

Tomas A. Lipinski wrote the following two reviews.

The Economics of Identity Theft: Avoidance, Causes and Possible Cures L. Jean Camp. New York: Springer, 2007, 184 pp. $59.95.

The work is primarily that of the author with several later chapters by other contributors such as a three page piece by Bennet Yee on trust code and hardware and one of the longest and densest in the book by Elaine M. Newton, based on a previously published RAND report on biometrics.

Early chapters present a useful taxonomy of "The Elements of Identity" (pp. 11-16) and Chapter 4 offers an overview of various identity management systems. Chapter 5 discusses "frauds" in the context of web sites, web-spoofing such as PayPal, which of course teases the broader unasked question: If we did not rely on online transactions and interactions so much maybe we would be a bit better off or, more to the focus of this monograph, with a bit less privacy perhaps it would be more difficult to "masquerade" as someone else as Chapter 6 recounts. (See, Lynn M. LoPucki, "Did Privacy Cause Identity Theft?" 54 Hastings Law Journal 1277 [2003] [Enforcing Privacy Rights Symposium]). Later chapters (9, 10, and 11) discuss Identity Technologies, Anonymous Identifiers, and Digital Signatures, respectively. Chapter 13 posits that the use of P-2-P or social networking mechanisms can be used to foster reputation with reputation in turn ensuring authentication which can then prevent the theft of another's identity.

Four guest chapters of varying length precede a concluding two page chapter by the author, each presenting four possible solutions (or as Camp posits, scenarios; "A scenario is a short creative document that provides a view of an alternate future" 139): ubiquitous anonymity, the use of national identifiers, use of multiple attributions, ubiquitous identity theft. The author concludes (p. 173) that the first and last options are the only real choices. The author doubts that education is the solution for "structurally helpless" consumers and challenges that without anonymity management any discussion of identity management is incomplete (p. …

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