Thursday, February 03, 2005
I can completely understand the natural human tendency to want to claim
ownership of our identity. I constantly see the statements "It's mine! I want to control it! I want to determine who can see it!"
After years of looking at this space, however, I have become convinced
that our identity, as we know it, is already spread across the
communities that gave us that identity. That the basis of the First and Second Axioms that I posited. I see identity as an accumulated thing ... and it only exists with language. It is language that allows us to distinguish identity.
It is this train of thought that takes me to the Fourth Axiom of Identity:
I posit that for an
effective community to exist there must be verified agreement, which
requires a minimum of three community members.
As I stated above, I believe it is language that allows us to
distinguish identity. Language requires agreement on the meaning
of words. The only way to have verified agreement is to have a
third party as a "tiebreaker." This does not prevent
disagreement, however it allows for the verification of a previous
Where I see this relating to identity is in the area of verification, or authentication
of identity attributes. Here, I mean authentication as in
"verifying the authenticity of." I can always choose to accept
the identity information that I receive from another entity, however
the value and accuracy of that identity information is always in
question until I am able to verify it. How I verify identity
information will always occur using some other member of a common
community that is able to provide the verification.
When applying for a financial loan, I can tell a bank about my employer
and salary information, however they are probably going to verify the
information with my employer. All three of us exist within a
common community that enables this, and this community has defined the
language and protocols to enable this verification process to
occur. There is the ability to generate a verified agreement.
Even in a conversation with my employer, we could potentially disagree
about my salary. So what do we do? We get lawyers involved
- the third party - to examine the contracts and employment agreement
to verify the information. This can only occur within a community
that has the same language and contract law. Verified agreement.
In the digital identity world, this quickly becomes an important aspect
of any system that is going to replace our paper-based
systems. Often, just as in paper-based systems, it is not enough
to communicate only the identity information. It is often
critical to also communicate the sources of verification ... some third
party that can provide verified agreement. This, in most cases,
is also the source of that identity attribute.
11:05:52 PM identity
|| © Copyright
Scott C. Lemon.
6/14/2005; 1:19:55 PM.
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