Digital 'ID cards' key to future internet privacy: Microsoft

Ontario's privacy commissioner and Microsoft Corp. on Wednesday unveiled a framework of principles they hope will be adopted by internet companies to help increase personal privacy and reduce online crime.

Ontario's privacy commissioner and Microsoft Corp. on Wednesday unveiled a framework of principles they hope will be adopted by internet companies to help increase personal privacy and reduce online crime.

Speaking at the International Association of Privacy Professionals conference in Toronto, privacy commissioner Ann Cavoukian announced her support for the so-called Seven Laws of Identity, which outline ways in which online retailers, banks, and other organizations can enhance privacy by developing a next generation layer for the internet.

"The identity structure of the internet is no longer sustainable," Cavoukian said at a news conference, citing growing threats from online fraudsters.

If people lose confidence in the privacy and security of the internet it will no longer be viable as a medium for commerce, she said.

The system would be implemented as a set of digital identity cards that would keep sensitive information separate from verification information, said Kim Cameron, Microsoft's chief identity architect.

"People don't want an uber identity that rules their lives," he said, highlighting Microsoft's so-called Cardspace system, which will ship with Vista.

Cameron, who formulated the seven laws of identity in consultation with privacy experts around the world, said companies will be ready to use Microsoft's Cardspace when Vista ships, but added that he could not disclose details yet.