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www.Affero.com and interview from slashdot

by zby (Vicar)
on Mar 28, 2003 at 13:22 UTC ( #246461=perlnews: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

This is a bit controvesial topic - but I believe eventually there will be a discussion about it here, so I provide the link to their site: www.affero.com and the interview posted recently on slashdot. In short it is an reputation system for online identities.

It seems a bit naive at the first look, especially when you look on the graphics on their website, but what is strong in it is the idea to transcend the site boundaries, and have your reputation go with you from one community to an other.

  • Comment on www.Affero.com and interview from slashdot

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Re: Affero
by sutch (Curate) on Mar 28, 2003 at 14:03 UTC
    It isn't much of a reputation system, since there is no way to ensure that a digital document was in fact created by the person who's virtual identity URL is attached to the document.

    It isn't necessarily a bad thing if someone forges a document using my virtual identity and I get some donations, but I wouldn't be very pleased if my reputation were affected by the forged document.

      For me the reputation part is the most important. I believe there should be a way to sign your messages and if they don't use it now they probably will in the future.

        The difficulty with signatures (both digital and not) is that they can be duplicated, and even beyond that accepting one involves a lot of trust. In essence, a signature is not a way to ensure that a particular document came from someone in particular, but a way to establish a paper trail in case there is ever any doubt or whatever.

        When I write a cheque, and sign at the bottom, the teller at the bank who eventually looks at it doesn't know for sure that is my signature. In fact, I knew someone who had her credit card stolen, and the thief used it four times, signing in four completely different ways. So a physical signature is just a way to say "Until someone says otherwise, this document is from Lai."

        Thing with digital signatures is, they're digital. Therefore, they can be instantly copied with 100% accuracy given just one example of the original. The fact that in order to make a signature at all useful you need to give it to people, means that even security through obscurity is impossible. You can't copy-protect anything because the act of giving someone a document is copying it.

        So, digital signatures can't be used to identify documents as coming from a specific source, unless they hold a reference to a database somewhere (either belonging to the signer or some third party) which keeps track of every document legitimately signed with that signature. Without a way to verify that not only is that signature on that cheque identical to mine, but that I personally made a record of having signed it, the signature is about as secure as the one at the bottom of this post. Then we get into ways of ensuring that the database you're checking is in fact a valid one...

        crypt('LAI','Na') crypt('__END__','Cl')
Re: www.Affero.com and interview from slashdot
by Anonymous Monk on Mar 28, 2003 at 15:34 UTC

    I think the discussion (or lack thereof) on slashdot is very telling. Judging by the number and quality of comments, nobody cares.

    As for the graphics on their website, I think they show what they're trying to do very well. Too bad their plan has so many inherent flaws that it will never succeed. This should be shelved along with Internet voting and online deathmatches for cash. The current state of the Internet allows far too many problems to bring down these ideas. Now if you'd all be nice little Microsoft drones and buy into Palladium maybe these ideas would have a chance...

    Heh, I crack myself up.

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