The proposed identity management system would allow citizens of the United States to use two-factor authentication methods when shopping online or accessing private information such as health or banking records.

The reasoning behind creating such a system is to battle the increase in online crime. By implementing this method to verify people, corporations can decrease the chances of fraud.

However, this very same system could also be used as a ‘real name registration’ system, similar to those already in place in countries like China or South Korea. While this may not happen in western countries any time soon, I can see some over zealous politician propose the idea in the name of protection and security of the citizens. Anonymity would be a thing of the past if that were to happen.

This is actually a reality in countries like Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabians are required to request permission and acquire a license from a government agency before they can blog. Not only that, Saudi Arabia has already reached a deal with mobile phone manufacturer Research In Motion so that it can access messages sent over BBM. Normally those messages are encrypted, but in order for RIM to operate in Saudi Arabia and India, they must allow the government complete access to private messages sent by citizens using BBM.

It’s a threat to freedom of expression and anonymity.