Identity Control and Management

This blog is about Online Identity Control and Management.

I created it because I need to get better control over how I appeared on the internet in order to advance my search for employment. I expect you and a great many other people out there have a similar need.

The internet industry as currently organized has no centralized notion of identity. However, many organizations require disclosure of your true identity as a condition of delivering any services. Even where such information is irrelevant to the actual service delivered.

In the early days of the internet, persons routinely made up handles like mine — ‘Magicianeer’ — to identify themselves on various forums and sites. The true identity was only disclosed for the purpose of completing an e-commerce transaction and was guarded like… money. Your true identity was worth at least the price of the goods you bought. Up until ~2000 that was OK.

From 2000, interests emerged on the internet that insist on real, verifiable identity outside of a financial transaction. Examples are yahoo.com, facebook.com, dice.com. Providing such information did not yield a benefit to the person providing it, but added much value to those collecting it. They could do demographic analyses, geographic analyses, for better targeting advertisements (among many other things I will cover in later posts).

Any single person in these databases is essentially worthless to the collector. Only the aggregate has value. Consequently, these data collectors have little incentive to ensure accuracy of any single datum. For example, convincing spam artists email marketers to allow people to unsubscribe from the lists required several Acts of Congress and criminal prosecutions. Your email address is just about the least sensitive bit of identifying information collected.

Many of these services go out of their way to publish this data (Facebook! Linked in!). This wanton disclosure of identifying information, fuels identity theft– impersonating another person for financial gain. Those collecting the data are not harmed. The individual datum are left to pick up the pieces of their reputation.

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About magicianeer
Web Services Architect and Software Engineer specializing in internet applications built on LAMP.

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