Freedom to Aggregate & Disaggregate oneself online.

I presented this slide show at the Oxford Internet Institute meeting in April that considered A Global Framework for Identity Management.

You could sum it up this way – “stuff happens in peoples lives and the need the freedom to go online and get support for those things and not have it all linked back to their “real identity.”

The slides are moving (drawing from post secret post cards) and it is worth watching if you don’t think people need this freedom.

India says it will be creating National ID for Citizens

I found this last night on Slashdot – it was to important not to blog about. “India to Put All Citizen Info into Central Database

Reading the article in The Independent this stood out for me

The creation of the ID or Unique Identification Number (UID) was a major plank of the manifesto of the ruling Congress Party during the recent election.

India is not a western democracy where “everyone” has papers and certificates of birth. As the article highlights

“This could be used as a security measure by the government which leaves migrant workers, refugees and other stateless people in India in limbo, without access to public services, employment and basic welfare.”

Our identities don’t come from government – they come from our social interactions and relationships.

The other issue that comes from this is “everyone in one database” is a giant honey pot.

Australian – ID Plan Srapped…

This just off slashdot today:

“The proposed Australian ‘Access Card’, a universal ID that would be required for any Australian wishing to use Medicare, Centrelink, the Child Support Agency, or Veterans’ Affairs, has been scrapped by the incoming Rudd Labor Government. The card would have contained an RFID tag with the person’s name, date of birth, gender, address, signature, card number, card expiration date, and Medicare number, but there were also provisions to add more personal data later on. It seems that Rudd Labor is not eager to copy the American REAL ID Act.

From the Ars Technica article:

Encrypted information contained within the card’s RFID chip would have included a person’s legal name, date of birth, gender, address, signature, card number, card expiration date, and Medicare number. Provisions were also included that would allow additional information deemed to be necessary for either “the administration or purposes of the Act.”

The Australian Privacy Foundation was one of the main groups behind the opposition to the plan.

Happy Belated Canada Day

Canadian Flag
First thanks to Ted Leung who took this photo last year at Gnomedex when it was Canada Day and we sang Oh Canada.

Canada day is a great Day particularly for all of us in Identity who are Canadian. The list is long and I don’t know everyone who is in the community and is Canadian. At the RSA Identity Gang Dinner we had fully 10/30 folks who were.

There is me (of course).
Kim Cameron
Paul Trevithick
Laurie Rae
Pamela Dingle
David Huska
Dick Hardt
Garrett Serack,
Kevin Miller,
Paul Madsen
Even Mike Milinkovich
(if you are not on this list and want to be let me know – I am not leaving you out on purpose just can’t do all the recall I need to do to make the list complete. I know there are several more folks on Kim’s team at MSFT.).

I have a page that has Bruce Mau essay that to me explained conciesly why we are into the topic. on why Canadians are so into Identity (It has been there for more then a year – linked from the side bar. I recommend any of you wondering about it read this – it is more complex then ‘just health care’.

I went and saw Michael Moore’s movie Sicko yesturday. It was a great film and did a good job of depicting the healthcare system I experienced growing up – see any doctor you want, get care 100% free. One of the things that got me thinking was that if the United States did figure out how to do universal health care that might really be a blow to Canadian identity. From the wikipedia article on Canadian Identity.

Much of the debate over the contemporary “Canadian identity” is argued in political terms, and defines Canada as a country defined by its government policies, which are thought to reflect deeper cultural values….such as publicly-funded health care… [that] make their country politically and culturally different from the United States.

In a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation contest to name “The Greatest Canadian“, the… highest ranking [was] social democratic politician and father of medicare Tommy Douglas.

Thanks for saying Happy Canada Day Kermit. He even quoted Marshall McLuhan musing that if he were around today he wouldn’t be surprised so many of us in identity are Canadian.

In his posthumous work The Global Village, he writes:

Yes, Canada is a land of multiple borderlines, of which Canadians have probed very few. These multiple borderlines constitute a low-profile identity, since, like the territory, they have to cover a lot of ground. The positive advantage of a low profile in the electronic age would be difficult to exaggerate.

Canada has another advantage over the USA which, sadly, resonates even more today than when McLuhan first wrote the words:

It is by an encounter with the hidden contours of one’s own psyches and society that group identity gradually develops. That Canada has had no great blood-letting such as the American Civil War, may have retarded the growth of a strong national identity, reminding Canadians that only the bloody-minded could seriously wish to obtain a group identity by such violence.

Update: Dale just sent me a link to this explaining then Canadian equivalent to “As American as apple pie”

“As Canadian as possible under the circumstances.”

Announcing The Virtual Rights Symposium on Digital Identity & Human Rights

This is the first of what we hope to be an annual event about Digital
Identity and Human Rights covering social issues, policy and
legislation in this arena.

The goal is to foster international cooperation on virtual rights
through high quality dialogue and deliberation between legislators,
researchers, service providers, and citizens.

The symposium will begin in September with interaction online both
synchronous and asynchronous. It will peak with a meeting in Costa Rica November 17-18th and continue online afterwards.

Virtual Rights Association is organizing the event in cooperation with Costa Rica University and the Berkman Center. Chair Jaco Aizerman please contact him at =jaco or

Please go to thewebsite at Virtual Rights to see the current version of the agenda.