February 04, 2008

Robert Fisk's review of Fisk's biography of Saddam Hussein

You read the title right: here is Robert Fisk's review of his own biography of Saddam Hussein. Well not quite his own. Though Fisk has a biography of Saddam Hussein published in Egypt, it isn't actually by him, its a forgery, published by an enterprising journalist who had heard of Fisk's leftwing reputation and thought he should have written a biography of Saddam Hussein. Fisk's article is hilarious as he traces this man across Cairio but it brings up for me something even more interesting which is this. We often presume on the internet that we have our identities set in stone and the real danger is that people will snoop on what we write from afar and find out that we are secret conservatives or something. I think that's the wrong danger- though it exists- I wonder whether one of the more interesting internet problems over the next couple of years as blogging matures will be identity theft. Tim Ireland has drawn attention to the problem of sock puppetting on the internet- but I think there are more egregious things to come. Take Iain Dale, the reason I advance Iain is because of his electoral ambitions, it would be perfectly possible for someone to fake an identity as Iain Dale on the internet and start commenting on various blogs in his guise giving electorally embarrassing posts- the same goes for any politician blogging from Paul Flynn and Harry Barnes to Nadine Dorries and John Redwood. Trademark theft on the internet is an interesting issue: I'll be fascinated to see how it develops- especially given what Fisk rightly says about the difficulties of enforcing trademarks in various countries.