Doc and David respond to my recent screed that they agree that people should own their identities. I still have to insist that thinking about how a top-down organization will facilitate individual ownership and control of the files that represent our online identities is the keystone of successfully deploying all the nifty technologies that already exist.
The understanding that we own our identities is implicit, perhaps for us, but not for everyone. So, we must make it an explicit element in the debate.
David acknowledges this when he writes:
My concern has been more with: (1) The imposition of ID schemes top-down rather than continuing to grow bottom-up solutions to actual problems, and (2) What we would gain and lose with a strong digID system in place. The first concern sounds like it maps to Mitch's imperative ("Thou Shalt Own Thy Identity") but need not: it's conceptually possible to impose a top-down identity scheme that enables us to own our identities. It's just politically less likely since the people doing the imposing have an interest in taking custody of our IDs for us. How thoughtful of them.
It is this lack of thinking about the human dimension of the problem (with all due respect to the people who have to work on the technical dimensions of the problem of Digital ID, like Bryan) that is preventing everyone from moving forward. AKMA puts it best:
Posted by Mitch Ratcliffe at December 30, 2002 12:35 PM | TrackBack
The cardinal reason for people acclimating themselves to DigID will involve the impulse to deal with people (or something like people) whom we can know through their observable behavior. We will want agents to be accountable for what they do, and we will want the friends and strangers with whom we converse online to offer some earnest stake in candor and trust. So the version of DigID that will succeed won’t succeed because it has the coolest interface, the highest security, the greatest degree of user-manipulation (most users don’t want any more settings on their technology than the bare minimum). The successful version of DigID will offer users primarily a way to know one another, to feel as though the “Snowbunny” with whom one had an, err, intimate discussion yesterday will be recognizable in some way when one encounters her or him today.