Digital Identity on the Horizon? Paypal Introduces Security Key-Fob

I received a link from a friend and colleague Alan Hill to a news story on CNET about Paypal who will be offering extra security to it’s users through a key fob that will generate a one-time password in the form of a six digit code every 30 seconds. PayPal security key fob

The “Paypal Security Key” will cost $5 (USD) for personal Paypal accounts, but will be free for business accounts… Paypal has been testing the device with employees for a couple of months and plans to start trials with customers in the next month or so.

The key fobs are based on technology by VeriSign whom eBay has had a security partnership for the last couple of years. eBay believe this will be another layer in it’s security to protect from phishing incidents.

It’s not an original idea the use of key-fobs has been around for a while now on other security protected areas such as large corporate IT firms that require it’s staff to sign in with a digital code. What is interesting enough is that eBay has now picked it up, while they claim it is to protect customers from the ever-growing and unstoppable phishing attacks it does pave-the-way for future digital identities of all Internet users.

Pros and Cons of Digital Identity

Will there come a time when all Internet users will have to sign-in online with a digital signature, the pros for this are it would help in combating cyber-crime, virus deliveries, spam and hacking as the footprints would be traceable back to the users unique signature. The cons are that it would be an invasion of privacy as it would be easy to track a users habits online, know when a particular user is online and what they view etc. I know this is a hot and contentious debate over the future of security and citizens rights to privacy.

It’s all becoming a bit Orwellian and it’s easy to see why one is torn between preventing crime online with the right to remain anonymous.