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Please, No More Promises from Bill Gates

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At last week's RSA Conference in San Jose, Calif., Bill Gates told theannual assembly of security experts that the latest version ofMicrosoft's operating system would make passwords into relics of thepast.

Note to Mr. Gates: Only one absurd promise at a time, please! Many of usare still waiting for you to deliver on your promise to rid the world ofspam by 2006.

According to his keynote address last Tuesday, the weakest link intoday's computer security chain is the password. Thus, with the comingrelease of the new Windows Vista operating system, Microsoft isintroducing a concept called InfoCard, which will assist users in bettermanaging login names and authentication.

InfoCard, similar to Microsoft's failed single sign-on service calledPassport, will give users a unified place to manage all theirauthentication tasks. But unlike Passport, which had the fatal flaw ofrequiring Microsoft to hold all your secrets, InfoCard will let usersmanage their own information on their own computer.

In case you don't keep a running tally of promises and prognosticationsfrom Redmond's answer to the Oracle of Delphi, it was almost exactly twoyears ago -- Jan. 24, 2004 -- during the World Economic Forum in Davos,Switzerland, when