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Craig Mundie Wants "Internet Driver's Licenses"

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the genuine-advantage dept.

Microsoft 427

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "Craig Mundie, Microsoft's Chief Research and Strategy Officer, called for the creation of an 'Internet Driver's License' at the World Economic Forum in Davos, saying, 'If you want to drive a car you have to have a license to say that you are capable of driving a car, the car has to pass a test to say it is fit to drive and you have to have insurance.' Of course, there are quite a few problems with this. For starters, internet use cannot yet cause death or dismemberment like car accidents can; and this would get rid of most of the good of internet anonymity while retaining all of the bad parts, especially in terms of expanding the market for stolen identities. Even though telephone networks have long been used by scammers and spammers/telemarketers, we've never needed a 'Telephone Driver's License.'"

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427 comments

If you drunk e-mail... (4, Funny)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 4 years ago | (#31029434)

will they take away your license?

Re:If you drunk e-mail... (4, Funny)

goldaryn (834427) | more than 4 years ago | (#31029474)

If Slashdot had a breathalyser, think of all the good Editing we'd miss out on!

goldy (over the limit)

I Don't See That Anyone Has Yet "Godwinned" (5, Funny)

Philip K Dickhead (906971) | more than 4 years ago | (#31029584)

On a thread that so richly deserves it. Here. Without undue prejudice:

HITLER!

HITLER!
HITLER!
HITLER!
HITLER!
HITLER!
HITLER!

Re:If you drunk e-mail... (4, Insightful)

SimonInOz (579741) | more than 4 years ago | (#31029784)

This is so Microsoft. Their response to any problem is to want more control. (A bit like most governments, actually)

Interestingly, this is the exact opposite of Open Source, or perhaps Wikipedia.

They are absolutely committed to the cathedral, with no thought of the bazaar.

And, for a while, it works.

Re:If you drunk e-mail... (4, Insightful)

mister_playboy (1474163) | more than 4 years ago | (#31029932)

or perhaps Wikipedia.

If you read /. often, you'd know Wikipedia is far less free than it used to be. We even have some trolls who post complaints about Wikipedia editors here. They are people who have gotten fed up with the current "I will control whatever happens on my pages" territorial mindset of some of the editors there who have all day to police their "domains".

This sort of thing drives away and discourages many people from contributing.

Re:If you drunk e-mail... (1)

Interoperable (1651953) | more than 4 years ago | (#31029826)

It depends on the e-mail. You receive 2 demerits for each grammatical error; if you rack up 8, it's a suspension. You now have 2 for failing to begin a sentence with a capital letter. Of course, use of "cuz" (because) or "u" (you) will result in the immediate loss of the license and posting a lolcat is punishable by a maximum of 10 years in prison.

Just what I always wanted (5, Funny)

Droce (1736948) | more than 4 years ago | (#31029444)

Now I can tell someone they fail at the internet!

Re:Just what I always wanted (5, Funny)

Philip K Dickhead (906971) | more than 4 years ago | (#31029692)

In the past, the Internet consisted, mostly, of smart people in front of dumb terminals.
Now, the converse situation dominates.

Slashdot is getting out of hand (3, Insightful)

mmcxii (1707574) | more than 4 years ago | (#31029456)

First links that link to blogs that link to articles. Then links to social networks to link to links that link to articles.

Where does the stupidity end?

Re:Slashdot is getting out of hand (3, Funny)

Interoperable (1651953) | more than 4 years ago | (#31029754)

I agree. Posting a link to a third-hand source should get you a demerit on your internet licence.

Re:Slashdot is getting out of hand (2, Informative)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#31029894)

First links that link to blogs that link to articles. Then links to social networks to link to links that link to articles.

Where does the stupidity end?

Usually at Twitter.

we need a law? (4, Insightful)

ralphdaugherty (225648) | more than 4 years ago | (#31029464)

since when do laws stop the bad guys?

Re:we need a law? (1)

uberjack (1311219) | more than 4 years ago | (#31029526)

I guess this would make the world's desktop support personnel police?

Re:we need a law? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31029856)

Maybe, although the first line would have to be the ISP. They would be required to get your license information and verify it before enabling your connection. Most likely if your machine was an identifiable zombie (identifiable by something), they'd have to notify you and drop your connection if you didn't fix it. Without some controls, a license system has no teeth.

Re:we need a law? (5, Insightful)

GreatBunzinni (642500) | more than 4 years ago | (#31029840)

More importantly, this measure is not targeted at "bad guys". When some idiot such as this Craig Mundie speaks about this concept of the "internet driver's license", what he is campaigning for is the ability to not only identify everyone who uses the internet but also the convenience of having any state's repressive power to ban anyone from the internet who disrespected any arbitrary rule these fools are trying to impose on the rest of the world. And the thing is, we aren't talking about criminal acts, as these are already punished by imprisonment. This sort of measure is intended to open the door for the ability to inflict arbitrary punishment on those who do not follow rules set forth by righteous idiots who believe they know better than the stupid masses.

But hey, let's call it "driver's license", as it's a very convenient term to associate with this oppressive measure as it's widely regarded by society as banal government grant. This sort of totalitarian measure desperately needs a cuddly face to be able to fly. Let's not mention what it really is: a corporate-tailored totalitarian attack on individual freedom intended to punish non-criminal acts which are frowned upon corporate execs such as mr Craig Mundie.

From the email cited (4, Insightful)

tyrione (134248) | more than 4 years ago | (#31029476)

Even here in the U.S., one of the most common Internet-related questions that I receive is also one of the most deeply disturbing: Why can't the U.S. require an Internet "driver's license" so that there would be no way (ostensibly) to do anything anonymously on the Net?

The road to ruin was paved with good intentions. However, that includes ludicrous ideas.

Re:From the email cited (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31029616)

The road to ruin was paved with good intentions.

FYI - that's road to Hell, not just ruin.

In Boswell's Life of Johnson, in an entry marked April 16, 1775, Boswell quotes Johnson as saying (on some other occasion), "Hell is paved with good intentions." Note, no prefatory "the road to..." Boswell's editor, Malone, added a footnote indicating this is a 'proverbial sentence,' and quoting an earlier 1651 source (yet still not in the common wording).

Robert Wilson, in the newsgroup alt.quotations, provided two other sources prior to Johnson. John Ray, in 1670, cited as a proverb "Hell is paved with good intentions." Even earlier than that, it's been attributed to Saint Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153), as "Hell is full of good intentions or desires."

Re:From the email cited (2, Interesting)

GreatBunzinni (642500) | more than 4 years ago | (#31029888)

More to the point, who exactly believes that the ability to freely express our own ideas how we see fit and without any danger of being attacked and punished by it is somehow bad or even dangerous to anyone? Who exactly is so afraid of free communication of ideas and the freedom to share information in order to be so desperate to beg any country's government to quench their citizen's ability to do that sort of thing? To put it in other words, who is so desperately afraid of not only their own countrymen but also every country's populace?

Try #2: How about "moron-alyzer" test for the Web? (1)

CityZen (464761) | more than 4 years ago | (#31029934)

A license would never work, but, how about something that can be implemented in software, sort of like a breathalyzer test for a car that locks out the ignition?

We need some kind of "moron-alyzer" test that locks out your internet access in case of stupidity.

This is the Stupidest thing I have ever Heard!!!! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31029482)

WTF a licence to use the Interwebs, that is bullshit and it will never happen. that is like saying you must have a licence to use a phone, or write a letter. how retarded is this guy any why is it news worthy?

Re:This is the Stupidest thing I have ever Heard!! (2, Insightful)

Kell Bengal (711123) | more than 4 years ago | (#31029942)

Because, if we sat idlely by, unnewsworthy retards would sign any old thing into law. A law that we would have to obey.

Such bullshit will only 'never happen' so long as there are intelligent people sufficiently informed and mobilised to oppose it.

Solution in search of a problem (2, Interesting)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 4 years ago | (#31029490)

Considering that enforcing a license requirement just here in the US would be nigh on impossible without rethinking everything and that the odds of doing anything of the sort worldwide is less than zero I'm left wondering just what problem this idea is intended to solve?

Hint, it ain't any problem we users have and it ain't a problem the network operators are having. And since the practice of allowing Microsoft products to connect to the Internet is the bulk of the spam/zombie/malware problem I guess we would license every host as well as user. Any any license scheme that permitted Microsoft crap to operate would be considered toothless and any that banned them would get called 'draconian.' No win scenario. The only winning move is not to play.

Actually, I think they have a point (0)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | more than 4 years ago | (#31029624)

How about this:

We implement licenses NOT for users, but for programs. You need a license to connect your application to the internet. We implement certain levels that your app must achieve in order to reach the intertubes.
If your application is TOO stupid or TOO buggy, you won't get a license.

No m$ program will get online for the next 5 decades, AND we would also get rid of people using facebook!.
It's a win-win situation! (actually, nowin-nowin, since windows won't be allowed anymore :D )

Re:Actually, I think they have a point (1)

Cryacin (657549) | more than 4 years ago | (#31029682)

It's called a "Verisign" developer certificate. That or the macstore.

Ender's Game, anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31029498)

Makes me think of Valentine and Peter trying to get on their father's "citizen access" in order to be taken seriously on the internet in Ender's Game.

System administrator Driver's License (4, Insightful)

enriquevagu (1026480) | more than 4 years ago | (#31029500)

Great idea, Microsoft! Even more, the Internet Driver's License should be followed by the "System Administrator Driver's License", so only people who know the risks present in Internet, and know their own computer OS, can run with Adminnistrator privileges.

Oh, wait...

Great segue (5, Insightful)

thethibs (882667) | more than 4 years ago | (#31029510)

Craig Mundie is making Dick Brass' point about Microsoft losing its competent people.

I tell you what we need... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31029512)

we need freakin "For Stupid Execs Forum Licenses" so jerks like these would STFU

Cui Bono? (3, Insightful)

kramer (19951) | more than 4 years ago | (#31029524)

Of course, it would be completely coincidental that Microsoft would offer training, software and certification to help get your Internet driver's license, right?

Only if... (1, Insightful)

Asadullah Ahmad (1608869) | more than 4 years ago | (#31029530)

Add the first requirement of not using IE, and then we might entertain the thought, and start some serious discussion.

Re:Only if... (1)

peipas (809350) | more than 4 years ago | (#31029874)

That's a good point. To bring in a car analogy, there are laws and standards regarding the vehicles permitted on the road. Would a Microsoft bigwig be championing this idea if it meant an NHTSA would be regulating their ass?

Sounds great actually. Coupled with the Justice Department discouraging monopoly abuse, we'd have the another regulator preventing MS from putting a house of knives on the road.

Re:Only if... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31029878)

Enforcing a restriction on IE would constitute a violation of free speech you fascist.

1984 is not a manual (3, Insightful)

afidel (530433) | more than 4 years ago | (#31029532)

It was supposed to be a tale of warning about the pitfalls of technology and big government, not a roadmap for where we should be heading. I swear there's a certain class of people that don't understand that concept or maybe they do and they just really hope they get to be the masters pet.

Re:1984 is not a manual (4, Insightful)

shadowofwind (1209890) | more than 4 years ago | (#31029700)

I swear there's a certain class of people that don't understand that concept or maybe they do and they just really hope they get to be the masters pet.

I think most of them never reflect enough to be more than vaguely aware of it, they just think in terms of controlling their environment in a way that benefits themselves. A few of the brighter ones do have an idea of where its going, but they don't care.

I think most of the rest of us aren't smart or powerful enough to manipulate the system very much that way, but in a sense we have it coming, because we do not sufficiently value freedom. And I don't just mean freedom from oppressive governments and big business, but also freedom from lots of other things ranging from debt to chronic dependence on prescription drugs.

And yes, almost everyone wants to be the masters pet. You can cut the head off of practically any abusive power structure and it will grow back, because nearly everyone's trying to climb one rung higher on the backs of those beneath them.

On the up side, that's only half the dynamic. Some things are getting worse, but some things are getting better also.

major loss for privacy, dissent (3, Interesting)

hguorbray (967940) | more than 4 years ago | (#31029536)

Although Google, et al can chip away at our privacy this would completely stifle free speech and dissent.

I know that some view ACs and their ilk as idiots clogging up discourse, but for a flip side of the coin how about the efforts to 'Out' Prop 8 contributors in Calif so they can be harrassed by gay activists?

-Not that I supported prop 8, but I do mod ACs up if they have something useful/interesting to say.

On the other hand, I don't disagree that there should perhaps be some required qualifications for hosting/administering websites, dealing with credit card transactions, userdbs, etc, but that is very different than (what I think) is being proposed.

I'm just sayin'

Re:major loss for privacy, dissent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31029604)

Not that I supported prop 8, but I do mod ACs up if they have something useful/interesting to say.

Fancy a shag

Lack of innovation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31029540)

If this is an attempt at innovation, it's quite pathetic.

Translation (5, Insightful)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 4 years ago | (#31029544)

Craig Mundie, Microsoft's Chief Research and Strategy Officer, called for the creation of an 'Internet Driver's License' at the World Economic Forum in Davos, saying, 'If you want to drive a car you have to have a license to say that you are capable of driving a car, the car has to pass a test to say it is fit to drive and you have to have insurance.'

In other words, Windows doesn't suck - The users do.

The drivers license analogy is being used to shift some of the blame from the OS to its users.

Re:Translation (1)

goldaryn (834427) | more than 4 years ago | (#31029652)

In other words, Windows doesn't suck - The users do. The drivers license analogy is being used to shift some of the blame from the OS to its users.

"If the steering wheel stops responding at 70mph, simply turn the engine off and back on!"

Re:Translation (4, Funny)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#31029810)

In other words, Windows doesn't suck - The users do.

The drivers license analogy is being used to shift some of the blame from the OS to its users.

"If the steering wheel stops responding at 70mph, simply turn the engine off and back on!"

You work for Toyota?

Re:Translation (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 4 years ago | (#31029866)

In other words, Windows doesn't suck - The users do. The drivers license analogy is being used to shift some of the blame from the OS to its users.

"If the steering wheel stops responding at 70mph, simply turn the engine off and back on!"

But first you have to close all windows.

Schneier already covered this recently (4, Interesting)

StreetStealth (980200) | more than 4 years ago | (#31029546)

Bruce Schneier had a pretty good takedown [schneier.com] of this kind of argument just the other day.

Accept that you'll never truly know where a packet came from. Work on the problems you can solve: software that's secure in the face of whatever packet it receives, identification systems that are secure enough in the face of the risks. We can do far better at these things than we're doing, and they'll do more to improve security than trying to fix insoluble problems.

Ham radio (4, Interesting)

KC1P (907742) | more than 4 years ago | (#31029552)

So this is like a ham license for landlines which sort of *act* like public airwaves. It's actually not SUCH a bad idea -- it sure keeps the S/N ratio up in the ham bands. Even if the test is virtually unfailable, the overall sense of earned-privilege vs. god-given-right seems to add a few percent to the general level of maturity you get. It'll never happen though!

Re:Ham radio (1)

Nivex (20616) | more than 4 years ago | (#31029606)

And much like the airwaves, there's the ham bands and the CBers. Besides, I've heard my fair share of idiocy on HF from licensed amateurs. You can't change human nature, you can just change the channel.

73 de N8VNR

I agree (2, Insightful)

JumpDrive (1437895) | more than 4 years ago | (#31029562)

You should have to have a license to operate Windows. Any other OS you don't need one. Licensing should be issued by the nearest LUG for a small fee.

What the hell is this bonehead talking about? They have a 90% market share. Just make up a required course that people must take to buy your software and be done with it. Or make it so that IE doesn't work unless you have used a smart card that reads your license.

Chief Research and Strategy Officer...?! (1, Interesting)

creimer (824291) | more than 4 years ago | (#31029566)

This is the best idea that this guy could come up with?

It's been proposed before, and it still won't work (4, Interesting)

Adrian Lopez (2615) | more than 4 years ago | (#31029580)

1. It would probably be illegal for the US government to require "drivers licenses" for general Internet use. The Internet is primarily a medium for the dissemination of speech, and the US government is prohibited from demanding that people obtain permission before speaking [wikipedia.org].

2. Even if done privately, requiring people to identify themselves for any and all uses of the internet is likely a bad idea [schneier.com].

Call for a license to propose ideas. (1)

Betaemacs (1737586) | more than 4 years ago | (#31029586)

'If you want to propose ideas you have to have a license to say that you are capable of forming coherent thoughts, your brain has to pass a test to show it is fit to operate your mouth properly and you have to have insurance.'

I knew this had come up before (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31029622)

I knew this had come up before here on Slashdot...
http://tech.slashdot.org/story/09/08/28/1952211/Crime-Expert-Backs-Call-For-License-To-Compute?from=rss (slashdot.org)

No license for having children (4, Insightful)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 4 years ago | (#31029636)

Seems like there are a lot of more important ones that should get priority.

Only terrible because of complications (1, Interesting)

slimjim8094 (941042) | more than 4 years ago | (#31029640)

I've seen many people on Slashdot suggest such a thing. Microsoft may be ridiculous, but it's likely they didn't come up with the idea.

In any case, the idea itself isn't terrible - it's only consequences of this that make it a bad idea (loss of anonymity, censorship, etc). The concept itself isn't a bad one. Loads of people aren't competent enough to not ruin it for everyone else.

If I were inclined to suggest something like this, it would be an ISP level thing. The ISP by default would allow you on to a NATted firewalled connection with a private IP address and filtering between hosts on the same virtual subnet. By passing a (standardized) evaluation or test or something, you'd be allowed IP addresses on the real internet. Sort of like a playpen for idiots.

These have the same problems as with a "driver's license", though, so I don't support them. Just saying Microsoft isn't nuts.

And keep in mind this guy shot down his own idea a few seconds after voicing it. I'm sure it was more like a thought experiment.

Don't become South Korea (3, Interesting)

BlueFiberOptics (883376) | more than 4 years ago | (#31029642)

As much as I like to joke that some people need licenses to operate a computer or use the Internet, this would be a bad thing. We'd all end up with license numbers and sites would start to require us to register with those numbers if we wanted to use those services. For many Internet-based services in Korea, you must enter a citizen ID.

Stupid suggestion =/= serious threat (3, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#31029654)

The article linked in the article posted here provides some context [rawstory.com]. He seemed to have been talking about this as a way of preventing cyber attacks, you'd have your license revoked if your computer was compromised and could be used in an attack. MS seems to have been trying to cover their asses: "It's not our fault, if we would just put this intrusive system in place, which has no chance of working, but more importantly would never be funded and never built, then the problem will be solved." The next time a problem with MS products creates a serious problem, they'll say "We told you so! If you had just put up a billion dollars to make the drivers license system, it might not have completely failed, and this could have been avoided! Your fault!"

Why do you have a steering wheel in your pants? (2, Funny)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#31029672)

we've never needed a 'Telephone Driver's License

Probably because you don't drive a telephone.

Re:Why do you have a steering wheel in your pants? (1)

cream wobbly (1102689) | more than 4 years ago | (#31029740)

WHOOSH!

Some countries use a TV licence. You need a licence to operate certain classes of radio transmitter.

Aside from the meaningless inclusion of the word "driver's", it's actually not that far removed from reality. The problem is, by including the word "driver's", it draws comparison with, well, drivers' licences, and implies that you should be compelled to buy insurance and have your equipment pass Internet readiness standards before a licence will be issued. It also implies that taxes will be collected and so forth.

Not to mention the fact that it's redundant [wikipedia.org]. What a plank.

Re:Why do you have a steering wheel in your pants? (2, Informative)

blugu64 (633729) | more than 4 years ago | (#31029764)

In all countries you need a TV license to operate a TV Transmitter. I think what you are referring to is that some country make you have a license for a TV receiver.

Doh (1)

krray (605395) | more than 4 years ago | (#31029684)

Simply a dumb idea. NeXT.

Re:Doh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31029746)

NeXT really? Thats just dumb.

Re:Doh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31029954)

So NeXT cubes were the original idea of internet licenses? Or... um... the counterexample? What?

Licences for OS (4, Insightful)

POds (241854) | more than 4 years ago | (#31029710)

Perhaps the licences should be handed out to Operating Systems based on compliance with web standards... I wonder if MS Windows would be given one?

Re:Licences for OS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31029852)

Is this a rehash of the old Certified User programme?
Back in the days of Windows 95 there was a push for this sort of thing.
Things became more complicated with the release of Windows 98, and different versions were proposed.
Certified Professonals would have either CU95 or CU98 added after their name.
The idea mysteriously died with the release of NT.
Never could figure out why.

How about a license to *write* an OS? (1, Insightful)

JoeF (6782) | more than 4 years ago | (#31029738)

Instead of a license for users, there should be a license to write an OS.
Nobody at Microsoft would qualify, judging by the POSes they have released since the 1980s.

OK, I see some value in here (4, Funny)

david.emery (127135) | more than 4 years ago | (#31029768)

I'm NO fan of Microsoft (which I hold responsible for a lot of the malware problems on the 'Net), nor am I a big fan of PKI (I think the implementations are way to fragile), but I think there might be a worthy idea in here.

Drivers Licenses have two uses:
    1. Certification of driving skills
    2. A nationally recognized identity
Consider this for use #2...

So what if the government issued an "Internet ID Card", with PKI Certs, etc, that would be used to secure email, transactions, etc? This is by no means a panacea, but as a factor in 2-factor ID, it might well cut down on some forms of malware.

Yes, there -are- civil liberty implications. But we always have the tension between known identity and guaranteed privacy.

So as a form of tougher ID on the Internet, I think this deserves to be taken seriously, and the plusses and minuses (as established here...) should be debated.

Re:OK, I see some value in here (1)

headkase (533448) | more than 4 years ago | (#31029876)

You know you are getting old when you think you should drive the speed limit. -- E.A. Gilliam <- Fortune currently displayed on this page.

The problem is that it *will* be abused, as in you are well and truly fucked. Even if it just happens to *you* that is way too many people. Best come up with solutions that have no civil liberties "compromises."

Let's make a deal... (2, Interesting)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 4 years ago | (#31029770)

If users are like drivers, then OS providers are like car manufacturers.

So let's require drivers licenses, if and only if Microsoft:

  • Can be sued when its brakes fail.
  • Must issue recalls on all defective operating systems, regardless of how old the operating system is.
  • Must subject its operating systems to safety tests.
  • Must permit the government to review all of its designs when there are questions of safety.
  • Must provide drivers enough information to fix their cars if/when Microsoft is slow to do so.

After all, dangers cars are just as serious as dangerous drivers, right?

This from the company who made IE (2, Insightful)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 4 years ago | (#31029782)

Excuse me, why is anyone listening to what MS has to say about Internet security, again?

Papers Please! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31029790)

Papers Please!

Bad analogy, Mundie (1)

init-five (745157) | more than 4 years ago | (#31029814)

...the car has to pass a test to say it is fit to drive.... I'll get a license when Microsoft passes a test to say that Windows and IE are fit to drive on the Internet.
For a moment let us ignore the roadkill from blue screens and worms by the millions; just try to get a license for IE to render any version of HTML per specifications.

Marketing (2, Insightful)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | more than 4 years ago | (#31029822)

This sounds like a marketing person annoyed that nearly everyone who is forced to fill out their stupid forms to get some needed content is telling Microsoft that they are 98 year old Afghan woman with an income over $100,000. I love power-tripping types like this: Lifeguards who seem to think that they are there to do anything but pull drunks out of the water. Police who think that they are there to do anything but pull drunks off their girlfriends. TSA people who think they are there to do anything but smell my feet. Politicians who think that elected office doesn't mean that they are really just failed real-estate people. Hall monitors who think they are popular. Waiters who think they have earned a tip by interrupting my conversation to see if everything is all right. Oh and failed programmers who think that by dragging their "Team" into meetings is the road to a great product. But I digress. Would an internet driver's license make the internet a better place? And more importantly who would collect the money for the licensing? That sounds like a monopoly that they could milk for decades longer than their slowly dying OS / Text editor business.

The test will need to be free of M$ based question (0)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#31029828)

The test will need to be free of M$ based questions or any other vendor tied stuff the last thing that you need is for some Linux / apple / Crisco pro to fail over missing the M$ questions and the test and licenses better be free and not some kind of a fee based thing with M$ and others getting a kick back.

While this might not be a good thing.. (1)

billsayswow (1681722) | more than 4 years ago | (#31029854)

Imagine by how much internet security would improve if we required some sort of internet competency test, that if, to use the internet, you had to prove that you don't trust Your-E-Buddy to deliver you the finest in genital enlargement pills?

Car analogy (0, Redundant)

Jason Levine (196982) | more than 4 years ago | (#31029868)

I think this would be best explained with a car analogy.... wait, doesn't "Internet Driver's License" have a built-in car analogy?

Can they be more subtle? (2, Funny)

Magdalene (263144) | more than 4 years ago | (#31029906)

Just another attempt by to regulate and/or control the internet, I can just bet that he has a shiny Powerpoint presentation all prepped about how suited MS would be to manage the corporate planning and data management.

About as subtle as Vlad and the Count soliciting for charitable donations :

"to de Blood bank... I mean Red Cross, yes. No, you don't hawe to come in, ve vill be ower.. , Ve Vill send an agent by right avay! Oh yes it is wery conwenient for you, Ve know exactly vhere you are, I mean, ve hawe your address yes. Thank you for agreeing to be ovr wicte.. heh donor!"

Right down to the 'mvahaha!' and the obligatory Thunder and Lightning.

Questions (3, Interesting)

bXTr (123510) | more than 4 years ago | (#31029928)

Civil rights issues aside, there are other questions about this "proposal".
  • What authority would be responsible for issuing these licenses?
  • What are the criteria one would have to pass when obtaining a license?
  • Assuming one would have to pay a fee for the license (nothing is free in this world), how much would one have to pay?
  • What exactly would the monies collected in license fees be used for?
  • What authority would be responsible for policing and enforcement of being licensed?
  • What would be the benefit to the licensee? What would we get in return that we don't already have now?
  • How will the information being collected from licensees be safeguarded from abuse by those within and without the licensing authority?
  • If I'm traveling to another country, would the license be valid there, or would I need to obtain yet another license from that country?
  • What about businesses that allow Internet access to their employees? Would the individual license be valid at work, or would the company have to obtain its own license?
  • Would government agencies also be required to obtain licenses?

Those are only the few questions I could come up with in ten minutes time. There are certainly many more beyond these. I would like to hear Mr. Mundie's answers to these questions along with the complete plan for putting this into place. I'll wait.

What happened to the Libertarians? (1)

Un pobre guey (593801) | more than 4 years ago | (#31029930)

Where are all of the /. libertarians? What, are you people on vacation today? This is the stupidest idea so far this year! How could a libertarian possibly even consider this? What next, a license to use a cell phone? A license to operate the computer itself? A license to operate household appliances? A license to use a garden hose?

Man behind the M$ curtain... (0, Troll)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 4 years ago | (#31029960)

"Craig Mundie, Microsoft's Chief Research and Strategy Officer...

Oh, the irony. In the history of this beloved yet hated company, there has never been so much explained in so few words...

This idea is so asinine that I can't really tell if this guy was drunk, high, or just plain stupid when he came up with it. In fact, it is so asinine that if it were to ever come to light, his would be the first one I would revoke.

Before trying to manage the whole Internet (3, Insightful)

alizard (107678) | more than 4 years ago | (#31029966)

Craig Mundie, Microsoft's Chief "Research" and "Strategy" Officer really ought to try getting his own R&D shop under control [slashdot.org].

Maybe he should be back in Redmond trying to fix his company's joke of an R&D process (ZUNE!!!) rather than pontificate at Davos to VIPs who actually might mistake him for somebody with a clue about technology.

Windows not road ready (2, Insightful)

gig (78408) | more than 4 years ago | (#31029968)

There's no way Windows would pass any kind of Internet-readiness test, it gets viruses and lacks the basic network security features of Unix systems. So it is weird to hear this guy say our Internet "cars" need certification.

Do you think you need to take a test to use an iPad? The reason so many XP are out there is the massive user training to go to a newer Windows nets no productivity benefit, yet people trade in their old phones for iPhone and without any training the Web browser and a couple of key apps make them immediately more productive.

Apple is working hard so computing is easy, the Unix community is working hard so computing is safe, and Microsoft says you need to take a test and get a license.

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