BTC - In case no one else has noticed, my blog wire has been completely taken over by a World of Warcraft gamer controversy due to a virtual "Real ID" mandate. The crazy thing about the escalation of dissent against Blizzard has much ado over digital privacy. The World of Warcraft creators teamed up with the privacy-identity pirates over at Facebook and named a new forum system "Real ID". (Not a winner with the public.)
It's unfortunate. Now that online trolls can find you and harass you at home some consumers are dumping the online gaming service altogether. I guess teaming up with Blizzard seemed like a way for Facebook to stop the bleeding once privacy advocates declared war on their public-private collusion racket by LEAVING. You can get more friends. You can find another gaming community. However, it's much harder to regain your privacy. Like money or your virginity, once it's gone, it's gone. So it is no game now that Blizzard sees customers ditching their services for the same reasons that people are abandoning Facecrook.
TAKE A NUMBER, PLEASE...
If the level of dissent displayed against Blizzard is any example of how online communities respond to Internet identity mandates, expressing complaints now might create a difference in national Cyber Security. The White House has a new plan for a national online ID number. Online users can share privacy concerns and problematic example experiences with Blizzard's Real ID system and compare it to President Obama's national online identity number proposal. The National Strategy for Trusted Identity in Cyberspace or the NSTIC forum on IdeaScale will be taking comments until July 19th, 2010.
The online number would be a tax-financed system for users to create a voluntary online ID number. This number would be interoperable for use as proof of identity between users, financial institutions and other private services of their choice. The good news is that NSTIC adopters, for now, can opt out if they want to stop using their online number.
Like Real ID (vs. RealID) and other national identity programs, NSTIC has some potential for mission creep and privacy flaws which is cause for concern. One day we might inherit an online identifier which eventually gains so much steam from voluntary adoption that it replaces the Social Security number. Let's not forget why governments want to enumerate the people in the first place - population control.
So here's to you, World of Warcraft gamers - because you deserve better. Take time to read up on your Social Networking Bill of Rights and the NSTIC proposal.
Here's a pathway to opting out of BLIZZARDs Real ID program.