I have to agree with Kim - and I guess Craig Burton also - that
creating software identity solutions is a different conversation than
exploring the philosophical thoughts on identity. I would suggest
that even this paper that Kim referenced provides some high-level,
abstract concepts that can drive a successful model of storing and
I believe that it is important to focus on tools that assist us in
gathering, rendering, and managing our 'identity'. We then have
the ability to share this information - upon request, or proactively -
with a simple set of rules. This is like the 'learning firewall'
products, or how IE or Mozilla learn our preferences for dealing with
Likewise, I also believe that it is important to understand the
foundations of identity to better understand the information that is to
be stored. It's not enough to know the values of various identity
attributes. We have to know who is the definitive source of that
identity information, and what are the units of measurement.
Lastly, we have to understand that our identity evolves with
time. It is important that identity management solutions record
identity over time, and allow us to query our identity information at
any point of time. These same solutions have to be able to
trigger actions upon identity updates being recorded ... to automate
the process of notifications to the communities that we want 'kept in
Yes ... this particular paper goes too deep into the philosophy of
identity, however it does reference some of the important issues
to be dealt with!
Olson, Eric T., "Personal Identity", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2002 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.)
One important conclusion is that the philosophy of identity is orthogonal to the current discussion.
[Kim Cameron's Identity Weblog]
11:16:21 PM identity