This paper is still being worked on. I submitted it to the 2014 ID360 Conference hosted by the Center for Identity at the University of Texas at Austin and was sent to present it there until I had to back out because I was still sick from attending the NSTIC meeting in San Jose 2 weeks before. Another version will be submitted for final publication – so your comments are welcome.
Part 1: Intro + What is Identity? Part 2: Names Part 3: Identifiers
This is Part 4:
Different identifier systems work differently some originate from physical space and others operate purely in the digital realm.
A great example of a local name space in the physical world is a school classroom. It is not uncommon in american classrooms that when there is a name space clash – that is two people have the same name in the same space – they take on different names to be identifiable within that context. Take for example those with the names “Stowe” “Fen” and “Chris” – each is one part of the name Christopher : Chris – Stowe – Fer. When they were in grade school each took on a different part of the name and it stuck with them.
These names spaces mean that identifiers within them are unique and global. Phone numbers, domain names and thus e-mail addresses.
Some private name spaces seem like global name spaces but they are run by private companies under privately decided terms and conditions. Examples include skype handles, twitter handles,
These are identifiers in a global space that are registered and managed globally an example is domain names.
These are attributes that people self defined. They include things that are subjective like “favorite color” or “name”
These arise from the individual and typically do not change (such as birth date) and are not as morphable. Sex and ethnic identity are things that people have and display in the physical world that don’t (typically) change throughout one’s life.
These are attributes that are given to us by others or by systems. This may include names that are imposed on us by social convention and or power relationships.
These are attributes that are given to us by others or by systems.
Social Security Numbers are assigned by the Social Security Administration.
Identity is a big topic and outlining the core concepts needed to understand it was the purpose of this paper. We need to think about how the systems that manage identity are structured. Are they designed to have power over people, supporting people having power with one another or enabling power to be networked between us to create something greater then ourselves. These questions are relevant across the whole life-cycle of identity from cradle to grave.