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Identity Crisis: How Identification is Overused and Misunderstood Paperback – May 15, 2006
"The Black Presidency"
Rated by Vanity Fair as one of our most lucid intellectuals writing on race and politics today, this book is a provocative and lively look into the meaning of America's first black presidency. Learn more
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"In this thoughtful and informative book, Jim Harper argues that privacy and security can best be achieved by resisting the relentless demands for technologies of global identification, which threaten privacy without increasing security. Instead, Harper argues for technologies of authorization that allow individuals to decide how much of themselves to reveal. A valuable contribution to a polarized debate in which out-of-the-box thinking is all too rare." --Jeffrey Rosen, author of The Unwanted Gaze and The Naked Crowd
"Few people in America have done the kind of critical thinking about identity and identification that Jim Harper does in this book. An understanding of identity management and policy is essential--not only to leaders in government, but those in the commercial sector as well." --Nuala O'Connor Kelly, chief privacy leader, GE, and former chief privacy officer, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
"For years now we've been hearing about the promise--and the threat--of databases, biometrics, smart cards, and other information technology breakthroughs. Finally, someone has cut through all the jargon, the techno-babble, and the right-left rhetoric and looked at it all with common sense and a clear eye. Jim Harper has produced a thoughtful, fast-paced, enjoyable tour through this brave new world that will become the source book for the ongoing debate." --Steven Brill, CEO of Verified Identity Pass and author of After: How America Confronted the September 12 Era
"Harper's book does an excellent job of laying the groundwork and clearly defining the different types of identification and the roles that they play in everyday societal interactions. He provides interesting historical context on the evolution of identification, and writes in an engaging style." --Christian Beckner, Homeland Security Watch
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Top Customer Reviews
The libertarian arguments are hardest for me to review. I was already sympathetic to Harper's positions, so I can't say how useful his arguments would be to readers with different views.
I recommend this book to CIOs. If you can deliver better identification products even to a niche market, there's money to be made.
A DRM-free eBook is available from Cato.
Author Jim Harper makes an important distinction between identification and authentication. Differences between the two are nothing to be trifled with. The interests of personal security and privacy hinge upon whether or to what extent either identification or authentication are used by government, private entities, and everyday citizens. Harper persuasively argues that identification is all-too-often overused, and that a process of authentication can often serve our needs most effectively.
Most people have probably never given a thought to identification theory. That certainly holds for this reviewer--until I read this book. Identification is largely a common-sense matter, but Harper brings attention to the conceptual depth attendant to this subject.
Also interesting are Harper's chapters more narrowly focused on privacy and anonymity. Important legal and constitutional matters are briefly discussed, underscoring the need for appropriate identification policies and practices. Of course, this book is accessible to a general audience and is certainly not limited in its audience to lawyers or to any other specialty.
After reading the book, one gets the sense that there is a lot more to say about identification. But a lot of ground is traversed in this work, and the result is highly commendable. Identity Crisis is an important and recommended read.
--JUSTIN OBERMAN, former head of credentialing and identity programs, Transportation Security Administration
"Few people in America have done the kind of critical thinking about identity and identification that Jim Harper does in this book. An understanding of identity management and policy is essential--not only to leaders in government, but those in the commercial sector as well."
--NUALA O'CONNOR KELLY, chief privacy leader, GE, and former chief privacy officer, U.S. Department of Homeland Security