What is an Ecosystem?
The National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace paints a broad vision for an Identity Ecosystem. The strategy author’s choice to name the big picture vision an “ecosystem” is an opportunity not to be lost. An Identity Ecosystem construct will inform the choice of processes and structures appropriate to govern it.
An ecosystem is a biological environment consisting of all the organisms living in a particular area, as well as all the nonliving, physical components of the environment with which the organisms interact, such as air, soil, water and sunlight.
This definition reminds us that the context of an Identity Ecosystem is broad and goes beyond just the identities of people and devices but extends to the contexts in which they operate and interact, the network and indeed the wider world. When we discuss a person’s digital identity it should not be forgotten that we are each fundamentally biological beings living in complex social systems composed of groups, organizations and businesses, all socially constructed and embedded in a larger context, the biosphere surrounding the planet earth.
An overall Identity Ecosystem is needed because small islands of identity management online are working, but they have not been successfully woven together in a system that manages the tensions inherent in doing so to ensure long term thrivability of the overall system. [Read more…]