The Information Architects site has some thoughtful 2007 predictions for Internet trends. One that intrigued me was the development of a "Trusted Web."
The new identity system would require anyone that posts anything on the trusted web to identify himself. Anonymous reading would still be possible, but anyone that wants to contribute to a discussion, send a mail post a text, video, picture on the trusted web would have to identify himself. You could still run anonymous blogs but if you read them you’d know from the start that there is some phony business going on there. Of course identified websites should get a better search ranking.
I think this would be just fine. The question is who would provide the organizational muscle and technology for such identities? Portals? Banks? Governments? If you have the time, check out this presentation from the O'Reilly Open Souce Convention early this year by Dick Hardt, ceo of Sxip Identity.
Another prediction I found interesting was that the democratization of the Web would follow a 1960s timeline:
What has happened in 2006 is comparable to the early events of 1966 and if history repeats we might see a summer of love for the Internet coming along in 2007 leading to a more violent revolution in 2008 during the presidential elections.
I don't know about the coming summer of love. But I agree that in this country, at least, the Internet will flex political muscles in ways we can barely imagine. The intriguing aspect is that the revolution will likely make itself felt on all sides of the political spectrum. So how will those threatened by this process fight back?