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Microsoft

Bill Gates Talks about Belgian eID Card 331

Brainsur writes "Today Bill Gates visited Belgium to talk about the Electronic ID card introduced last year in Belgium as experiment. Microsoft announced that they will integrate the electronic identification into the Windows Software so they can deliver more security and privacy on the internet. The register has more news."
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Bill Gates Talks about Belgian eID Card

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  • Privacy? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @03:48PM (#11544226)
    How should I expect privacy when my computer has my ID card? I want my ID card in my pocket, so i know when it is readable by anyone.

    vajk
    • Re:Privacy? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by lucabrasi999 ( 585141 ) on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @03:50PM (#11544260) Journal
      ow should I expect privacy when my computer has my ID card?

      Take it a step further: I would consider the terms "ID Card" and "Privacy" to be contradictory.

      • Re:Privacy? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by PornMaster ( 749461 ) on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @04:05PM (#11544471) Homepage
        In this sense, yes, the ID card and privacy may very well be contradictory. But you could theoretically have an ID card which was anonymous, but presented to you as some sort of credential.

        Think of it as a standard door lock. The lock provides security, they key provides access, with the assumption that anyone presented with a key should have access. Unlike a scheme which requires biometric or identifiable authentication - non-anonymous keycard/biometrics/doorman - a metal key, in a sense, protects your privacy.

        If you were given an ID card which identified you based upon some other kind of characteristic, such as having completed some form of task, separate from your name, age, DNA, etc... you could have an ID card which protected your anonymity. I guess it's all about how you think of ID as identifying you.

        If you don't think of the passbook of a Swiss numbered bank account as being a form of ID, then I'm sure you'll disagree with me.
        • Re:Privacy? (Score:3, Interesting)

          If you don't think of the passbook of a Swiss numbered bank account as being a form of ID

          Yes, it is. But, if I understand how Swiss banks work correctly, they don't keep track of all of my activities (just key Financial transactions). An ID card issued by the goverment would, by it's very definition, keep track of all of my activities in a central location (Financial and non-Financial).

          I'll take off my tin-foil hat now. I am being a bit over-reactionary. But, as I posted elsewhere, here in the United

        • by IBitOBear ( 410965 ) on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @04:57PM (#11545129) Homepage Journal
          You have the privacy of the key and the door lock but your issuing authority has the ability to make another copy of the key "from their records" and unlock any door you have locked.

          Contrapositively, any guy who muggs you and takes your house key isn't suddenly "you", but the same mugger who takes your ID is suddenly "you" "to the system" and will leave vapor-trail evidence of you-ness behind him as he goes.

          Now if your ID card can't be authoratatively canceled and replaced then the thiefs access is total an perpetual. If it *can* be canceled and replaced, then the replacement ID still has to act as the "key" to open "the door". This, in turn, means that there is some fineite or infinite number of keys that can open your "door" because all of the old locked stuff needs to recognize every future permutation of your key.

          Either that, or this is Palladium again, where there is nothing magical about the key and it is all in some central database that is actively scanned for each transaction, and so acts as real-time monitoring of the "identified" persons.

          So, really, absolutely no privacy or completely illusitory security.
        • "If you don't think of the passbook of a Swiss numbered bank account as being a form of ID, then I'm sure you'll disagree with me."

          And that Swiss numbered bank account is usually linked to identifying information about you. The Swiss have largely done away with anonymity because of pressure from foreign governments over money laundering and tax evasion.
        • Re:Privacy? (Score:4, Funny)

          by mcc ( 14761 ) <amcclure@purdue.edu> on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @05:16PM (#11545346) Homepage
          > But you could theoretically have an ID card which was anonymous, but presented to you as some sort of credential.
          - BEFORE -
          Hi, I'd like to buy a plane ticket.


          Alright, please enter your name and government ID into this form.

          I don't want to enter my ID number, that would allow you to link my ID number to my name and it's supposed to be an anonymous credential.

          Then you can't buy plane tickets from us.
          - AFTER -
          GATOR BUDDY LICENSE AGREEMENT
          [300 lines of text]
          Customer agrees that GATOR BUDDY, INC will in the course of the operation of this program read your name, address, and government ID number from your Windows registry and transmit it back to GATOR BUDDY, INC as part of your customer profile.
          [300 lines of text]
          OK CANCEL


          Man, what a pain, does anyone actually read these things?

          OK
      • Well the ID card in belgium would be to allow online paperwork like taxes and maybe even voting, we've had normal ID cards for longer then ive lived and the idea behind this was to be able to identify yourself to authorities if necessary (not only cops but for banks, administrations, voting, etc..). Now my guess is that they talked to microsoft to find a way to secure these online transactions, quite frankly as long as its secure and works i don't care who writes the protocol.

        Being belgian i can quite fr
        • I did happen to know about the multi-language issue in Belgium, but thanks for pointing out the details behind the issue.

          And, I have to admit, I am being a bit over-reactive with my post. However, in the United States, it is a bit of a tradition to be overly-sensitive to the idea of the government keeping track of it's citizens through a common ID card system.

          OTOH, the government (and private companies) do keep track of us through Driver's Licenses and other cards (such as credit cards). Even so, the id

      • My thoughts. (Score:3, Interesting)

        by pavon ( 30274 )
        Hehe. I started this post when the story was still in the mysterious future and it kept growing till, now when most everyone has already moved onto the next story. Oh well, might as well post it and this thread is as good of a spot as any.

        I would actually be in favor of a Smart-card ID - especially if the citizen ID was just one uses of a generic smart card authentication system. The use of Social Security Numbers is inherently insecure. Every authentication system needs a public identifier, and at least o
      • Let's see. I'll pretend that I have an electronic ID card. Let's say that I'm paranoid and I just don't feel like using my electronic ID card in combination with Microsoft product (which I think many people would feel is perfectly reasonable) - or online generally.

        So then what's the worst thing that could happen - I wouldn't be able to use Microsoft products? Aw, gee... what a letdown.

        Sort of like trusting your SSN to a Microsoft product - would you use your SSN to identify you in an online chat room? C'
    • Er... it is. It's an ID-card with a chip on it, so you'll have to put it into some reader ...

    • so that it doesn't have to run windows
    • Re:Privacy? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by laurensv ( 601085 )
      eID card is physical object, if you don't want in your computer, pull it out of the cardreader, see here [belgium.be]
    • As most Slashdot readers probably know, computer security has two distinct and separate functions: Authentication and Authorization. The first establishes that you are who you claim to be, the second establishes what you are and are not allowed to do. Authenticating yourself within a specific context, say a bank account transaction, is necessary within that context.

      The danger in any type of universal form of authentiication is that it will be used for universal authorization. Many cities and states now sus
    • How can you expect privacy when your electronic ID is stored on a Windows system? As soon as you input your ID information the spy ware on the system will broadcast it to the world.

      This is going to be a boon to the identity theft rings.

      Let me guess, they are using DES encryption in Bulgaria due to export restrictions. ;)
  • by JakeisBland ( 771872 ) on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @03:49PM (#11544241)
    "You must first open your passport .net account for us to verify your ID."
  • Which is worse? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BeerCat ( 685972 ) on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @03:51PM (#11544281) Homepage
    Don't know which is worse - a country going full tilt down the electronic ID route (when even the perceived benefits are less than the cost), just because, you know, it's technology. Or Bill G saying it will make things more "secure"

    For those countries that require ID, just why is the manual system that has been in place suddenly no good any more?
    • by morzel ( 62033 )

      For those countries that require ID, just why is the manual system that has been in place suddenly no good any more?

      Horse and carriage were also good in their days, but cars are much more convenient nowadays.

      There are a couple of reasons why electronic IDs are being introduced:

      • Counterfeiting IDs will be (nearly) impossible, due to the fact that all IDs have to be signed by the central government. No more reproducing/stealing blanks to get a fake ID.
      • Currently your address data is printed on the ID car
  • More privacy??? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Loke ( 115739 )
    Am I the only one wondering how a state-guaranteed ID card used for authentication will provide more _privacy_???

    Before attempting anything criminal, better report your eID card stolen. /c
    • Am I the only one wondering how a state-guaranteed ID card used for authentication will provide more _privacy_???

      Well, the NSA uses an assload of authentication to ensure privacy.

      You're equating privacy to anonymity, which are different things. The ID card prevents anonymity but could help or hinder privacy, depending on it's use.

      Of course, there needs to be a expression of trust that the authentication won't be used for other purposes which would lead to less privacy.

      Problem is that MS, like the govt.
  • by denis-The-menace ( 471988 ) on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @03:52PM (#11544293)
    Now user in belgium will effectively have MS passport in physical form.

    In Canada, Businesses are forbidden to use SIN#s for tracking purposes and this is not that different. Maybe if it works there, he'll be able to use the US' ID cards the same way.
    Oh and patent the fuck out of it, too.
  • and knowing my way around windows, this has me somewhat frightened.
  • Unanswered Questions (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Staplerh ( 806722 ) on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @03:53PM (#11544308) Homepage
    Hmm. There's a BIG question unanswered in this article.

    Microsoft believes that combined with the eID Card MSN Messenger chatrooms will be much safer. Users would have a trustworthy way of identifying themselves online. The Belgian Federal Computer Crime Unit (FCCU) could even refuse young children access to certain chatrooms based on their electronic identity.

    Now.. is the ID card REQUIRED to use the MSN service, or is it just another level of idenitifcation? One model, such as what Amazon.com uses for reviews, is to accredit reviews with a 'Real Name' sticker if it is indeed the poster's real name (as verified by their credit card). But it isn't required to actually post a review, only to get that extra level of verification.

    Anybody else have a different take on it, did I miss this important point?
    • Well, I guess that if they kick out of MSN all users which don't have a belgian ID card, that will piss off 99% of their customers ;)

      Even if you enlarge to all e-ID owner, that's still limited (Finland, Estonia, Sweden aren't quite large either).

    • by Ruleke ( 620789 )
      The government secretary that is responsible stated on TV that is was an aditional optional layer of identification.
      Also, they are investigating how to handle children that are not issued an ID yet (in Belgium, ID cards are issued at age 12). One possibility is a seperate type of "chat-card" or using the card from the parents to authorize access to certain chats.
    • Now.. is the ID card REQUIRED to use the MSN service, or is it just another level of idenitifcation? One model, such as what Amazon.com uses for reviews, is to accredit reviews with a 'Real Name' sticker if it is indeed the poster's real name (as verified by their credit card). But it isn't required to actually post a review, only to get that extra level of verification.

      When it was announced here (yes I'm from Sell-your-privacy Belgium) a minister here spoke at great length about how this would provide ch

  • Finland has been issuing smartcard electronic IDs that the citizens use for electronic voting among other things (hanging chads, anyone)?

    Any Fins here wish to comment?

    • Ruffly about 100k people got the "chipped" id card (and about 5M people here). Nobody uses it, its not required anywhere, there's absolutely not momemtum behind it. And it doesnt work in linux ;) (atleast it didnt few years ago)

      Saying its dead and buried would be understatement.

      The problem ? It costs too much and average-pertti doesnt really get anything for his money ..

  • Seven years later ! (Score:3, Informative)

    by clarkie.mg ( 216696 ) <mgofwd+Slashdot@ ... m minus caffeine> on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @03:57PM (#11544354) Homepage Journal
    It was the 4th of february, 1998. It [dmitchell.com] happened [motelmag.com].

    Seven years later, he dares to come back.
    • Interestingly enough, it happened on February 4th, just a few days from now. How do I know this? I read it on my Despair calendar earlier today.
    • 'dares' is the word indeed.

      I attended his keynote to the developer community this morning, and quite frankly, I was amazed at the casual atmosphere and the low level of security. Anyone of the attendees could have carried and fired a gun at him at close range.

      I appreciate it that Bill still has the guts to appear in public. He must know that it takes only one wacko, and that one day he WILL walk into one.

      But then, maybe it was a döppelgänger...
    • Aaaaah, the good old days. You can't imagine how hard I laughed when it was on the news here. Too bad nobody gave him some pie as a present this year (gave, not threw)

  • by stephenisu ( 580105 ) on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @03:57PM (#11544355)
    How long do you think it will take some bored script kiddie to end up tracking everyone and watching the results like a bad game of the sims.

    Is it really all that beneficial to have this securing mechanisms?

    Either way I am not gonna complain unless this effects Belgian Beer production.
  • trusted computing (Score:3, Insightful)

    by necrognome ( 236545 ) on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @03:58PM (#11544373) Homepage
    $5 says this kind of thing (computer credentials linked to your "papers") finds its way into the various trusted computing initiatives...
  • What About When... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SpottedKuh ( 855161 ) on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @03:59PM (#11544388)
    ...you don't want all that information following you? From TFA:

    Just like the classical ID, the eID contains your photo, surname and first names, sex, nationality, place and date of birth, signature, national number as well as the validity period of the card.

    Quite frankly, there are times I would like to use the Internet without all of that information following me around. There are sometimes online I just don't want to be identified! Even when I do want to be identified (using Canada as an example) the idea of even giving my SIN number to Microsoft sounds insane! I ccertainly wouldn't want that sort of sensitive information identifying me online. I'll stick to using my name...
    • You can still use the internet without all that information following you...

      It is up to you to stick that card in the reader whenever you want to do something that requires authentication (e.g.: government issue).
      The only reason Microsoft is in the picture is because:

      • Bill Gates has been in the country for a visit
      • Due to the perceived paedophile threat on the internet, some politicians wanted to give children (ID cards are required from age 12) and their parents a way to verify that their chat-friends a
  • by Bud ( 1705 )

    Microsoft announced that they will integrate the electronic identification into the Windows Software so they can deliver more security and privacy on the internet.

    So true, and yet so much marsh gas.

    On one hand, it's hard to see how improving the user's authentication level would stop crackers and virus writers from breaking into Windows boxes.

    On the other hand, given Microsoft's track record in internet security, it's hard to see how they could ever deliver less. Anything they do is sure to INCREASE

  • Passport+ (Score:3, Funny)

    by Transdimentia ( 840912 ) on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @04:01PM (#11544410)
    After the overwhelming success of Passport it was only a matter of time until this happened!
  • New Publisist? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by erwin ( 8773 )
    Did Bill get a new PR firm? I've seem more Gates stories in the last week than most of last year? Is he trying to make a shift from IT Industrialist to High-Tech Cultural Pundit?

    Looking at it from a marketing point of view, its like money in the bank for MS. Nothing like having your founder out there framing the next technological debate in terms of what you have coming out of the R&D lab.
  • ``Mr. Gates has not requested to meet Mrs. Kroes and Mrs. Kroes is most certainly not going to request to see him,'' said Todd.

    Why does Jonathan Todd want to keep Bill and Mrs. Kroes apart?

    Why does Mrs. Kroes appear so pissed?

    And is there a developing spark between Bill and Jon?

    All this and more, when you join us after the break only on Channel 25.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @04:05PM (#11544465)
    Almost spit my diet soda:

    the Commission balked at ``Windows XP Reduced Media Edition ... the company is working with the EU on a suitable alternative.''

    You have to admit, it takes some serious nerve to suggest "Reduced Media Edition." I wonder what the less inflammatory proposals will be. Some ideas:

    • "Windows XP Eunuch Edition"
    • "Windows XP Mute Edition"
    • "Windows XP Shhhhh!"
    • "Windows XP Barely Functioning Version,"
    • "Windows XP's European Vacation,"
    • "Windows XP Eurotrash"
    • "Windows XPwerk"
    • XP Full Fat = XP Pro
      XP Semi-skimmed = XP Home Edition
      XP Skimmed = XP Reduced media Edition

      what's next? XP Lite
  • by the_skywise ( 189793 ) on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @04:05PM (#11544470)
    This is a remake of "The President's Analyst" [imdb.com] isn't it?

    (Where The Phone Company tries to take over the world by implanting a phone in everybody's skull so they can make calls any time and any where... and be tracked...)


  • Don't leave any doodles lying around this time.
    -S. Balmer
  • by bersl2 ( 689221 ) on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @04:09PM (#11544514) Journal
    Is today International Assimilation Day or something?
  • No one wants them, why the hell "must" everything now require an ID? The ONLY time an ID card should be present is if you're using a public terminal or information which needs to be kept secret is around. Other wise I don't want the spammers to know my name, address and other things.

    Keep ID cards to where they are needed to prove who you are, other wise leave me alone. If you need to know who I'am then I will tell you, all you need to know online is I can type and my user ID is [whatever site I'm on's user
  • The Earth's most hated pejorative (Bill Gates) linked to the universe's (Belgium)... Go figure.
  • ...to not use Windows.

    Don't Run. Don't Run while you still can.
  • I'm a belgian citizen, and I'm really concerned about this. I don't like where this is going, public governments should never have close ties (especially technological ones) with a specific company. What this means is, in the future belgian citizens who don't run Windows will be 2nd class citizens (can't file their taxes online, can't use online services, etc...). That's just plain terrible, what a shame.

    DZM
  • I'm from Belgium (Score:3, Informative)

    by MaynardJanKeymeulen ( 768541 ) on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @04:17PM (#11544608) Homepage
    These eID cards aren't all that bad.
    Here in Belgium we are obligated to carry normal ID cards with us, so if those become one with a chip in them, it doesn't make that much a difference.

    If you don't want to use it for identifying with msn, so don't.
    On the other hand, they are fully supported on all sorts of unixes, so they might be handy to login your own system or whatsoever.

    It's not like they're equiped with some sort of rfid so govmnt can track wherever you are.
  • I guess being /. this is like preaching to the converted, but this proposal is surely a stern warning for all those who see ID cards as something benign and useful that cannot impact on their day to day lives.

    Why is it for some reason everything, be it national security, convenience for civil servants etc etc etc gets considered before privacy in issues such as National ID cards. Surely, as illustrated by the many valient efforts at DRM the technical ability is there to produce a modern doucment to valida

    • I suspect ( hope any rate ) that now Mr Blunkett has been removed that the I.D. scheme will be gradually shuffled off into obscurity and dumped.

      I am convinced that once the general population realise the exact details of the scheme being proposed they will change their minds and thoroughly reject the idea.

      Most people at the moment tend to think "Oh well, I have nothing to hide so an I.D. card is probably a good thing". However when you point out to them that they will be paying for this card out of their
  • This article should get the award for the most gratuitous uses of the word Belgium.
  • Belgian commenting (Score:4, Informative)

    by WaZiX ( 766733 ) on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @04:36PM (#11544850)
    Well, im belgian, and this eID is actually a great advance for us, we will be able to fill out tax forms and other administrative forms, maybe vote and in the future us this eID as authentification for buying prescription drugs (yeah we get most of our medical costs paid for). It also solves a lot of problems between the different language communities we have around here, since a frenchman in flanders (where they speak dutch) could fill out his forms in french. This might seem a stupid problem but it has been a pretty huge on in belgium the last couple of years.

    As for M$ using this to authenticate on their services? why not, as long as anyone can use our eID to guarantee some kind of secure log-in/transaction im 100% for it. I very much doubt Belium would let a foreign company take the monopoly of their eID market, im sure all they are trying to do is develop some kind of platform onto which outside companies could use our system.

    Indeed this will mean that with time, you could make sure your Credit card could only be used by you (or anyone who stole your card, has an untracable card reader device AND has your 4 digit pin code). This of course makes online transactions much safer.

    The only reason i see that Bill gates decided to integrate this to MSN messenger is because thats exactly the type of product that Billy loves (hence his introduction of similar cards in his company.)

    So anyways, eID is great, that MS endorses it is not bad at all, as long as the procedure to endorse our future system will not be an MS product.
    • I'm curious. What does the eID actually do? Does it actually have cryptographic smarts in it, or is it just the same old data from the old ID, only designed in such a way as to be read out electronically? Does it require authentication (from you or the interrogator) before divulging?

      A smart card which contained a private key and could generate signatures would be outstanding. It would severely reduce fraud and "identity theft". I hate the fact that the current US standard way of proving your identity
      • I'm curious. What does the eID actually do? Does it actually have cryptographic smarts in it, or is it just the same old data from the old ID, only designed in such a way as to be read out electronically? Does it require authentication (from you or the interrogator) before divulging? All data is by default encrypted on the chip. There is no magnetic strip like on credit cards. The chip is commonly used all over the world and very secure. However, the security depends on the encryption. If I'm not mistake
  • A problem has been detected and Windows has been shut down to prevent damage
    to your country.

    Belgium.dll ERROR

    If this is the first time you've seen this Stop error screen, restart your country. If this screen appears again, follow these steps:

    Check to make sure any new government is properly installed.

    If this is a new installation, ask your electorate
    for any Windows updates you might need.

    If problems continue, disable or remove any newly installed government. Disable government options such as democracy
  • It's bad enough being forced by your government to have a id card... Now they have to put up with identity theft and can't even do a thing about it... This MS Cancer is growing too big for this worlds own good...
  • Years ago, I introduced a little concept called SoFiNet, which would be an instant messenger/ personalized DNS service based on the Dutch Social/ Fiscal number.

    I never quite got into implementing the concept, but I see Microsoft is getting on to me here. Don't know if I can invalidate any of their patents now...

    The whole idea was meant to be ironic, and to display the abuse of what originally was a fiscal personal ID. Somehow I've got the idea that Microsoft (as usual) didn't get the irony :-)
  • I tell you, the world is going to hell thanks to Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer's illegitimate moon child Windows. Back in the days of yore (about two years ago) I was using MSN Messenger to communicate with my intarweb pals. Then someone told me that M$ wanted to claim ownership of what I wrote in MSN Messenger. No! I didn't believe it. I figured that this had to be some kind of GNU Hippy Commie FUD lie. But I read the fine print myself and sure enough, Micro$haft owns anything you happen to write in M
  • Microsoft announced that they will integrate the electronic identification into the Windows Software so they can deliver more security and privacy on the internet.

    If their goal is to delivery more security and privacy to the internet, they need to remove the tcp/ip functionality of their operating systems.

  • Lots of windbagging going on here but nobody here has mentioned that Belguim's smart card system is based partly on the Free Software (LGPL) OpenSC tools.
  • For those who are interested:
    http://eid.belgium.be/en/navigation/ 1 2000/index.ht ml

    It's the official website of the government about the eID card.

    Flemish (Dutch-speaking part of Belgium) public television also has an interview with Bill Gates on this topic. You can find it on-line at http://www.vrtnieuws.net . Click "Internetsoftware voor Belgische identiteitskaart" and then "Ivan De Vadder interviewt Bill Gates". The interview is in English, although with Dutch subtitles. It can only improve your languag
  • by Frank T. Lofaro Jr. ( 142215 ) on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @05:44PM (#11545616) Homepage
    Interesting choice of country to be trying to do this in.

    Some people in Belgium apparently don't like him. He got a pie in the face there.

    http://www.bitstorm.org/gates/ [bitstorm.org]
  • I read this pretty interesting snippet in the local Belgian newspaper (translated):

    Gates went to the federal parliament, where he gave a talk about informatization of the government and society to a select number of members of parliament, and chairman of the house of parliament Herman De Croo. He received a number of questions concerning the topic of Free Software (open source), programmes anyone can use and modify for any purpose. "I explained that open source software functions well together with our s
  • by m93 ( 684512 ) on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @11:31PM (#11547739)
    Microsoft should soon be making this technology available worldwide with model 666.

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