Saving the World with User-centric Identity.

European Travel and Podcasts this Summer

I'm heading to Europe on Wednesday.  The travel plans and events are below. One of the main reasons I am going is to connect with the people and communities in Europe working on identity and personal data.  I want to come back with about 10 podcasts recorded with key people from the community that I meet along the way - these will be edited on my return and posted on the web publicly.

I will also be inviting/encouraging participation with PDEC in the two main ways we have so far to engage.

* If you are a startup or a proejct focused on how people are in charge of their personal data you can apply to be part of the Startup Circle.

* If you are in an enterprise or just interested you can subscribe to the Journal.

Please don't be afraid to reach out and connect with me if you are in Europe or know some folks in Europe I should be sure to connect with on this trip.  txt:510472-9069  Skype: Identitywoman


  • June 7th I arrive in London and have meetings/social things
  • June 11th is an Identity, Personal Data & Personal Clouds Unconference I am facilitating and Tony Fish is organizing - You're INVITED!
  • June 12th is the OIX Event
  • June 12-13th is New Digital Economics
  • June 14th is WEF Tiger Team Day
  • June 15-17 Netherlands
  • June 18-19 is the Digital Enlightenment Forum
  • June 20th I plan to travel to Paris
  • I might travel to Geneva..
  • June 25-27th in Berlin
  • June 27th I fly out of Berlin to SF.

Info Sharing Agreements! Support it! Make it Real!

Joe Andrieu and the Information Sharing Working Group has put a lot of work and effort into creating a Standard set of Information Sharing Agreements represented by a standard label. They want to invest in user -research to make it really work.

I am putting in $100 and I encourage all of you to do the same. They need to raise $12000 in the next 8 days.

See the Kickstarter Campaign here.

UnMoney Convergence Topics

Tomorrow is the UnMoney Convergence - an un-conference about all sorts of topics related to money, currency, land, value, reputation, identity.

Here are the topics that people are hoping to discuss:

  • Collaborative Consumption and Sharing
  • new currencies
  • How we can work together to make the movement for community currencies stronger and more synergistic.
  • BACE Timebank- open source currency
  • What are the best ways we can move from the current debt based, imperial economic system towards a life serving, peaceful, gift economy?
  • where are the most inspiring, promising, transition currencies being conceptualized, implemented, how can we work together to help them go viral and allow people to move their money from the old system towards creating a better alternative structure.
  • Fostering robust public debate on creating "public money" so that legitimate governments can fund activities which serve people and planet rather than threaten them.
  • Deep Wealth and new currencies as an emerging language of value. A Living Systems Model of Wealth
  • The role of co-operatives in startup investment.
  • how to enable trust agility?
  • governance, mobile payments oauth/opentransact
  • Designing Intentional Community Economic Systems
  • "Co-Creating Community Economics as a Path of the Heart"
  • Working together, can we do more than just taking care than our respective unmoney "babies/pets".
  • Going from niches to relevance.
  • Emotions in money experiments: dealing with fears
  • Crowdfinancing! technical development values based investing
  • How are other people designing an ecosystem of currencies to create engines of social action?
  • designing currencies as/like games
  • social ecosystem design and the use of currencies
  • work-share
  • micro credit;
  • time dollars
  • How to manage debt in a web based on distribution of small composable documents.
  • Ripple, Metacurrency, actual usage
  • What does unmoney tell us about changing relationships between incentives and motivation? How unmoney works as incentive and /or motivation
  • What does unmoney tell us about changing relationships between incentives and motivation?
  • How unmoney works as incentive and /or motivation
  • How do we teach about these alternative forms of currency and economics to potential early adopters?
  • Which of these different approaches are approaching reality?
  • What are the most pragmatic and useful? Who is making progress on deployment?
  • Teaching about money in a Sustainable MBA curriculum.
  • What kinds of alternative currencies are being used and thriving in local communities?
  • What are all the alternative types of currency - i.e. time banking, etc. Perspective of a young person coming of age and recognizing there are different ways to engage with money, currency and economics.
  • What is a sensible balance between social customs and accounting systems in the economics of the near future?
  • Currency backing methods
  • Mutual credit systems, small-scale democracy
  • What is the best example of alternative currency active today?
  • What is the best model that needs to be tested?
  • Where are the communities of trust willing to test a promising model?
  • Friendly Barter - A model of a cashless online payment developed with Tom Greco this last Winter.
  • How to share deeper value and wealth together and build an economy based on this sort of wealth.
  • How to share deeper value and wealth together and build an economy based on this sort of wealth.
  • Particularly interested in alternative and parallel currencies The potential for mobile phones to disrupt in the alternative currency space

UnMoney & NewWallSt

March 11th.
TEDx New Wall St.
re-imagining banking re-built for the Information Age in Silicon Valley on a New Wall Street, as described in the attached press release, and here

April 24th.
UnMoney Convergence
Fosters dialogue and collaboration among the range of interesting emerging ideas around money and exchange systems and to explore connections with issues of land and property tenure. In addition to topics on alternatives to the current currency systems, we invite all who are looking at new ways to look at land tenancy and stewardship, hard currency versus energy, time and food based currencies. We are looking for synergies between folks who see the need for more grounded, materially based economics and those looking at the spiritual, energetic and values based approaches.
Register here!
Website here (might be new in a few days).

Speaking at RSA on a panel about NSTIC.

Kaliya "Identity Woman" Hamlin, Executive Director of the Personal Data Ecosystem Consoritum is speaking on a panel at RSA about NSTIC.

It is moderated by Jeremy Grant the head of teh NSTIC Program Office and includes fellow panelists Michael Barrett from PayPal, Jim Dempsey from the Center for Democracy and Technology and Craig Spiezle fromt eh Online Trust Alliance.

On being an accidental NSTIC Pilot Yenta

The first person who I heard calling herself a Yenta was Deborah Elizabeth Finn who I met via my participation in the Nonprofit Technology world and the NTEN community.  She is "the Cyber Yenta" helping nonprofit folks figure out their technology needs and match making. Yenta is a Yiddish word for a woman who is doing mate matchmaking. 

This last few weeks I have felt like a "Cyber Yenta" when it comes to NSTIC (National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace) Pilots because many folks have come to me to share their idea for a Pilot.  Given what I know from reading the NSTIC Pilot FFO and having attended 6 out of the 6 so far NSTIC face to face (I attended the last one virtually) events:

  • NPO Announcement
  • NSTIC Release
  • NSTIC Governance Workshop
  • NSTIC Privacy Workshop
  •  NSTIC uses IIW as its Technical Workshop
  • NSTIC Pilot Proposers day

They clearly want  to solve issues/challenges that are multi-party in nature where the $ will help to create incentives to do interoperability beyond what one company, organization or technology can do on its own.

Many of the people sharing bid ideas involve, unsurprisingly, their project being in the big part of a bid.  I listen/read and think... given potential purposes outlined in the NSTIC Pilot FFO (Federal Funding Opportunity) you know this one echnology/legal framework is one piece of what is a many-piece problem.  It is hard to dissuade them of that.

They really want relying parties, so if you come to the table with those, you are in a much better position.  They need legal issues solved along with technology ones.

I am not discouraging anyone from submitting a proposal for their technology/legal framework, but it would be helpful if people both thought about how they can be the center of their "own" bid ALONG with how they think what they have could fit with other organization's companies bids too. How does your piece of the puzzle fit with other puzzle pieces. What do you have to give/contribute/share with others? How could you participate in a bid even if you didn't get paid to do so?

It will be way easier for me to help network/connect across the landscape of potential bids if I know how you can play/contribute if you get a large sum of money (several hundred thousand), medium sum of money (tens of thousands), small sum of money (a few thousand), and no money/just participating (you just got new users pointed at your service that interoperates with a broader universe of relying parties, for example).

I have felt caught in the middle not wanting to lose trust by sharing things I shouldn't about people's ideas and bids, but also feeling like they need to connect and know more about others.  I am hoping that we can all put more information out there about how ideas for the ecosystem can fit together.  I also hope that people can be realistic about how they have key puzzle pieces, but not "all" the puzzle pieces.


Upcoming Travel and Events - March is busy!

I have made a resolution for the new year to blog more about things I am thinking about and working on along with where I will be and where I have been.

The big news from last week was the coming IPO of Facebook and the release of how the NSTIC Pilots will work [PDF]. They are going to grant 10 million dollars and the first deadline is March 7th.

So this coming month is quiet until the 3rd week. Then there is the Personal Archiving conference and an event about a new reputation system.

ID Collaboration Day is happening February 27th the Monday of RSA week. We are expecting a good group from a range of organizations. We are in the same venue as last year Blacklight Ventures at Mission and South Van Ness. IIW/Identity Commons is collaborating with Kantara Initiative and OASIS IDTrust. I suspect that NSTIC will be a major topic of conversation.


Ping Identity is having its major party on Monday evening at the ROE Night club upstairs lounge at 651 Howard starting at 9pm.

Strata is also this week - O'Reilly's data conference. I spoke at their online conference in the summer on personal data running a good panel with a highly relevant introduction and well faciltiated panel on personal data that I helped pull together. I submitted several different proposals touching on different aspects of data and people and the technologies developing in the ecosystem. Apparently non-qualified but then O'Reilly and company are still trying to find women speakers who are qualified for their events (they talked about it at two events I facilitated/attended in January the Community Leadership Summit West and She's Geeky in January).  I am honestly confused and didn't submit any proposals to OSCON in part for this reason.

Then it is SXSW. I am flying out on Wednesday with my long time friend Axil who is getting of an airplane form Asia that day.  I will be there until Sunday. Saturday Mike Shwartz from Gluu is hosting what look to be good community connecting events.


Personal Data Lightning Round

Date: Saturday March 10 from 1pm - 3pm

Lunch will be served at this informal lightning round. If you want to present your product, service or project in 5 minutes, stop by and drop your name in the hat. 12-15 lucky individuals, selected at random, will get the spotlight from 1:30 - 3:00. Topics must be personal data or identity related. If you go over 5 minutes you'll be pelted by the audience with foam icosahedron stress balls.

Identity Biergarten

Date: Saturday March 10 from 6:00pm - 8:00pm

German inspired malted beverages and other refreshments from local producers will be served at this informal identity and personal data networking event. Date: Saturday March 10 from 6:00pm - 8:00pm


Sunday I fly to London for the Gartner Identity and Access Management Conference where I will be keynoting Monday the 12th at the end of the day.  My talk is going to cover the Identity Spectrum and how Personal Data tools and services can reduce the toxic issues for companies storing personal data about people.

I fly to DC on the 13th and attend the 2nd day of the NIST-IDTrust conference on the 14th. Then the OASIS IDTrust Steering Committe has a face to face meeting on the 15th and I fly back to my home in the Bay Area.

On the 16th Friday I fly to Australia and land on the 18th Sunday in the morning. My cousin's (my dad's sister's kids will pick me up and I am taking the family photos I have from our shared grandparents house down with me). I am speaking at Digital Identity World Australia on the 20th and working with Steve Wilson on an IIW like conference either on the 19th or 22nd. I am flying back on the 23rd to SFO (I so wish I could stay longer).

There is "tiger team day" just before the STL-Partners New Digital Economics event that should be a good event covering the emerging ecosystem.

Between now and then we will publish two more Personal Data Frontiers (we are thinking about changing the name to Journal) and I am working on a jointly published report with STL-Partners on the Personal Data Ecosystem Landscape.

Then...its April and the Nonprofit Technology Conference   a talk for Nuestar in a speakers series they have and I will be watching the European Identity & the Cloud Conference with interest.

IIW #14 is happening May 1-3 - early bird registration is Open. 



The new Google is Creepier then ever.

The Washington Post has an article today that talks about what google is doing as of today:

Google’s no-opt-out privacy changes and the end of the anonymous Internet

Google announced Tuesday its plans to integrate data from all its services with your profile for logged-in Google+ users.

She makes this assertion in the early part of the article.

The Internet, nowadays, is overwhelmingly dominated by fora in which you hang out as your actual self. Facebook. Twitter. And now, Google.

 While I understand her assertion that the net is "dominated" by these fora. There are two assumptions one is that the people in those places are being 'Their actual selves" when the research shows that people are being thoughtful and careful about how they present in different places and what aspects of themselves they share where (see danah boyd's research about young people and networked publics).  I think in one way she is right the people like her - who went to college and have mainstream white collar jobs are on these fora with their real names but most people who actually do interesting hobbies or have religious lives that they don't share publically or across all contexts of their lives either are not sharing about these on those fora or they are keeping them contextually separate using different names and handles.
This weekend at She's Geeky I am going to ask a lot of questions of the women coming about how they do manage their identities and what they want and need out of digital systems to feel safe using them.
Tie actions online to our real identities, and suddenly online activity has real-world consequences.
This is very true and unless we build tools that give people both persona management and context management we are going to be creating a really creepy world.  See my TEDx Talk on Participatory Totalitarianism. 

The new Google+ Names process

Today people were tweeting/writing about the new google+ names policies. Well. I just went through it and it involves many screens and an appeal into the Kafkaesqe googleplex that takes up to 3 days before they approve your name request.  I think they should to this to EVERY user cause how do I know your name "is" David just doesn't trigger their dictionaries prompting inquiry into the legitimacy of your name...Ok but I digress...lets see how this works.

First you are discouraged from changing your name and limited to the frequency you can do so. You have to click "change name" to do anything.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Carrier IQ "world" vs. a Personal Data Ecosystem future

Read Write Web's Marshak Kirkpatrick just posted a great article outlining the issues with the Carrier IQ issues that have surfaced.  It also includes an extensive quote from me about how data has value and it needs to be accessed in ways that are in alignement with people.

Recent Activity Pt 4: Europe Week 1

Week one in Europe was busy. The day I arrived Esther picked me up and we headed to Qiy's offices where i got to run into John Harrison who I last saw a year ago at IIW Europe. He is organizing a consortium to go in for FP-7 money (80 million) put out for projects around Identity in the European Union.

Wednesday was Nov 9th Identity.Next convened by Robert was great bringing people together from across Europe. 1/2 the day was a regular conference and 1/2 the day was an UnConference that I helped facilitate.  I ran a session about personal data and we had a good conversation.  I also learned about a German effort that seemed promising - Pidder - their preso in The Hague

November 10th I headed to London for New Digital Economics EMEA along with Maarten from Qiy.  It was fantastic to be on stage with 5 different start-up projects all doing Personal Data along with one big one :)

It was clear that the energy in the whole space had shifted beyond the theoretical and the response from the audience was positive.  I shared the landscape map we have been working on to explain elements of the overall ecosystem.

Digital Death Day was November 11th in Amsterdam was small but really good with myself, Stacie and Tamara organizing.  We had a small group that included a Funeral Director a whole group form Ziggur. We were sponsored by the company formerly know as DataInherit - they changed their name to SecureSafe. Given that Amsterdam is closer then California to Switzerland we were hopping they would make it given their ongoing support...alas not this year.

One of the key things to come out of the event was an effort to unite the technology companies working on solutions in this area around work to put forward the idea of a special OAuth token for their kind of services perhaps also with a "Trust Framework" that could use the OIX infrastructure.

It as also inspiring to have  two two young developers attend.

  • Leif Ekas  travelled from Norway - I had met him this summer in Boston when he was attending summer school at BU and working on his startup around aspects of digital death.
  • Sebastian Hagens - Sebastix
It made me wish Markus had made it there from Vienna.
When I was at TEDx Brussels I was approached by another young developer Tim De Conick well more accurately visionary who got some amazing code written - WriteID.
Given the energy last summer at the Federated Social Web Summit and these new efforts that could all be connected together/interoperable. I think there is critical mass for a developer / hacker week for Personal Data in Europe this Spring Summer and I am keen to help organize it.

Recent Activity Pt 2: Canada & Boston

Immediately following IIW (post here). I headed to Canada to speak at the International Women in Digital Media Summit.

The iWDMS brings together professionals from traditional and digital media communities, as well as educational/research institutions from around the world.  With high level keynotes, cross-sector dialogue, expert panelists, controversial debates and structured networking, the Summit will promote knowledge-sharing, and will explore innovation, skills gaps, policy and research in digital media--including gaming, mobile, and social media--and the impacts on and advancements by women globally. 

I gave an "Ideas and Inspiration"  talk for 20 min about the Personal Data Ecosystem called The Old Cookies are Crumbling: How Context & Persona aware personal data servcies change everything and will transform the world and was also on a panel about New Media Literacies.

There are a few things I took away from this event:

1) Countries like Canada are very small with just 30 million people and the center of commercial/intellectual life in Toronto an event like this really brings together a core group of high profile women in the media production business that represents much of the industry.

2) Both the government of Canada, provinces like Ontario and universities like Ryerson  are very serious about attracting and retaining top technology and media talent with a variety of tax and investment incentives.

3) See point (1) because of that must think internationally about appeal and distribution of any media across the whole world not just one market.

4) The way they talk about diversity used lang had language I never heard before the term "designated groups" included folks with disabilities, first nations people (in the US they would be "American Indians"), women, and ethnic minorities.

5) The idea that people shouldn't be stalked around the web to "monetize" them was new and provoked some thinking amongst those who made their living developing metrics.

It was great to connect to Canada again and I hope that with the IIW coming up in Toronto in February some of the women who I met there can attend and consider how media can change with new tools for people to manage their identity and data.

I got to meet up with Aran Hamilton  (@Aranh) who coordinated efforts around the NSTIC of Canada in Toronto. We outlined the possibility of a Satellite IIW in Toronto and I learned more about what is going on there.  Basically up to point  (1) above...Canada is small.  95% of people have a bank account and of that something like 85% have accounts with one of 5 banks (Bank of Montreal, Toronto Dominion Bank/Canada Trust, CIBC, Royal Bank of Canada, Scotia Bank) and there are 3 telco's. So it seems like getting an NSTIC like system in place in Canada could involves meetings with a few dozen people.  They have the added advantage that Canadians have a higher trust in their government and institutions like banks and telco's and have fewer "privacy rights" organizations.  So our IIW should be interesting and I hope that we can get some good cross over between the January 17th event in DC and this one.

After Toronto headed to the 4th MassTLC Innovation Unconference.  It was great to be joined by Briana Cavanaugh who is working with me now at  The community was thriving and it was the biggest ever unconference that I have run at 800 people and lots of sessions.  Jason Calacanis who apparently has relocated to Boston was there.  Jeff Taylor was there and had a rocking "un-official" after party that he DJ'ed.   The most notable costume was a guy in a suit with a 99% on his forehead. Yes Occupy Wall Street became a halloween costume.




Recent Travels Pt1: IIW

IIW is always a whirlwind and this one was no exception. The good thing was that even with it being the biggest one yet it was the most organized with the most team members.  Phil and I were the executive producers. Doc played is leadership role.  Heidi did an amazing job with production coordinating the catering, working with the museum and Kas did a fabulous job leading the notes collection effort and Emma who works of site got things up on the wiki in good order.

We had a session that highlighted all the different standards bodies standards and we are now working on getting the list annotated and plan to maintain it on the Identity Commons wiki that Jamie Clark so aptly called "the switzerland" of identity.











We have a Satellite event for sure in DC January 17th - Registration is Live.

We are working on pulling one together in Toronto Canada in

early February, and Australia in Late March.

ID Collaboration Day is February 27th in SF (we are still Venue hunting).

I am learning that some wonder why I have such strong opinions about standards...the reason being they define the landscape of possibility for any given protocol. When we talk about standards for identity we end up defining how people can express themselves in digital networks and getting it right and making the range of possibility very broad is kinda important.  If you are interested in reading more about this I recommend Protocol:  and The Exploit. This quote from Bruce Sterling relative to emerging AR [Augmented Reality] Standards.

If Code is Law then Standards are like the Senate.













Identity in the Contexts of the Future OR Participatory Totalitarianism

This is the latest from Google in their "names policy"

We understand that your identity on Google+ is important to you, and our Name Policy may not be for everyone at this time.

Kinda sounds like the owners of stores in the south who said their stores were not for everyone especially black people who didn't have skin color they liked. It is a fundamentally discriminatory policy.  If we don't have the freedom to choose our own names in digital space and the freedom to maintain different identifiers across different social spaces we will end up in a very creepy world...Here is my TEDxBrussels talk.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Nymwars and what they mean: summary of my posts to date.

Update: Google relented a bit, however I am still waiting to see if my name of choice was approved. You can read about the process I had to go through here. The New Google Names Process


For those of you coming from the Mercury News story on the NymWars exploding...

I STILL have my Google+ profile suspended for using a  [  .  ] as my last name.  Prior to that I had "Identity Woman" as my last name and prior to that... before I ever got a G+ profile and since I started using Gmail and Google Profiles I had a   [  *   ]as my last name. [see the complete list of posts about this whole saga below]

It is my right to choose my own name online and how I express it.  Names and identities are socially constructed AND contextual... and without the freedom to choose our own names, and the freedom to have different names (and identifiers) across different contexts we will end up with a social reality that I don't want to live in: Participatory Totalitarianism.

Read the rest of this entry »

Personal - a personal data service is LIVE!

It is a big day 11-11-11 for many reasons. One is that Personal emerged out of closed beta. Yeah!   When I first met and talked with Shane Green, I was so excited because I met a kindred spirit who shared core beliefs with the community around IIW (user-centric identity, VRM etc). I knew after spending 5 hours in 2 days talking to him that with his experience, personal leadership, and the funding they had already secured  (from Steve Case and others) that they were going to make a big splash when it finally launched.

As a bonus, the whole topic of Personal Data got coverage in AdAge yesterday mentioning both Personal and in an article:

Why Your Personal Data Is The New Oil

I think the biggest thing Personal has going for it its focus on design and usability.  Wire protocols (the technical bits of moving data and formatting it) are easy compared to how people can easily understand, interact with and manipulate the vast range of personal data they have, that is information which is personal TO them - not their tweets and photos that they proactively share, but all the "stuff" they should have a record of somewhere. Their car serial number, passport number, codes to garage doors for baby sitters and the kids allergies that need to be shared with playdates, school and the soccer team.

They are using OAuth, a key open standard, in their connectors linking information you have at one site to your personal vault in their store.


It is pretty simple when you get started.

1) You can add empty gems and fill them out.

2) You can share them with others... and also revoke permissions.

Anyone who sees a gem you have given access to has to agree to your "control" of the data and that when it is revoked they don't keep a copy of it. They also can't share it with others without your permission (you would give that other party access to your gem if you wanted to share with them). 

3) You can look for gems that have already been created by others about things they own or preferences/needs they have.

4) And get the mobile app.

Now that they have launched, I am going to dive in and start playing with gems and sharing relevant ones with friends and colleagues.

Other key items to note are the coming anonymity features they are planning on rolling out.

We believe strongly in your right to remain anonymous when you choose. At present, we only support remaining anonymous when publishing community gems, but will be rolling out new anonymity features in the very near future.


Heading to Europe - 4 Events + 9 "free" days

I am coming to Europe in November for four events that are all Identity related... Instead of doing an IIW "in" Europe we have decided to support IIW like events :) .  I also need to find interesting things to do for 9 days in November.
Identity.Next  is in TheHague on November 9th

1/2 the day is an unconference that I am helping to facilitate. If you can make it I highly recomend it - it was a great event last year and should prove to be again this year.


Digital Death Day is happening November 11th in Amsterdam.

It is a super ineteresting topic - What happens to your Data After you Die?

Please spread the word about this event it is totally grassroots, and the conversations in this are are really amazing...if still not yet a mainstream part of the digital identity community.


I will be speaking about the Personal Data Ecosystem ( you will be happy to know there are 6 startups from Europe in the Startup Circle) at the STL Partners New Digital Economics event in London on November 10th that will be the only time I am in the UK.
I am looking for interesting things to do and people/ places to visit between November 12th and November 21st on the contenent. Drop me a line if you have ideas or invitations -

I end my trip speaking at TEDx Brussels on November 22nd about a "day deep in the future" still trying to figure out what I will say but I am to community ideas actually as I am focused on getting a clear vision of the talk in the next week.

Web Wide Sentence Level Annotation ->

I first met Dan Whaley last spring via an introduction from Jim Fournier co-founder of Planetwork.  I was inspired by the vision he was working on building -  a way to have sentence level annotation of news and other articles on a web wide scale. Really a foundation for peer review on the web. The motivation for his work is to support greater discernment of the truth around climate change and other key issues facing our society and our planet.  (Another area I could see this being really useful right now is around accountability in the financial system and ways to make that real.)

He asked me to be a part of the project as an advisor particularly around identity issues and technology options for identity.  He is taking my advice and coming to IIW this coming week.  Its an honor to be amongst other distinguished advisors like Brewster Kahle,  John Perry Barlow,  Mark Surman and others..

He has been working on a development plan and has a solid on one in place.  He has launched a Kickstarter Campaign and  stars in the video that articulates the vision of the project.  If you are inspired by the vision I encourage you to contribute.

Open Letter to Google+ Profile Support

On Sep 19, 2011, at 11:25 AM, Google Profiles Support wrote:


Thank you for contacting us with regard to our review of the name you are trying to use in your Google Profile. After review of your appeal, we have determined that the name you want to use violates our Community Standards.

I am curious what community developed the standards?  If there really is a community behind them, where can one engage in dialogue about them and have one's needs addressed.

Please avoid the use of any unusual characters. For example, numbers,symbols, or obscure punctuation might not be allowed.

(.)'s for last names are permitted for mononym people. I am making this choice.

If you search my name "Kaliya" in Google, I am 1/2 of the links, the other 1/2 are for the Hindu mythical figure that happens to share my name.

It is my name. I claim name sovereignty.

Most users choose to use their first and last names in the common name field in order to avoid any future name violation issues.

I am not "most users". I am unique individual with my own name.

How can a name be in violation? What is a "name violation issue" anyways? Who says?

I feel violated by this experience because I do not want to use my (soon to be ex-) husband's (who I've been separated from for 3 years) last name, Hamlin, as the headline on MY profile. I am fine listing it in the "other name" field - it is an "other name" to me.

I do not want to use my old last name, Young, last used in 2004 before my professional career began. I am also fine listing this the "other name" field as some who knew me before this date will be able to find me this way. Again, it is not appropriate for the headline on my profile.

I was fine using my professional handle/title "Identity Woman" as my last name for the headline of my profile but this was rejected by your acceptable name algorithms for having a space in it and being words not commonly in last names.

I actually do often list "Identity Woman" as my last name when I attend conferences so it is on my badge prominently  on my badge because my current last name (my ex-husband's name) isn't relevant. My Identity Woman professional handle IS relevant to the context, being at a professional conference so I choose to use it as my last name.

I decided when I began using Google+ that I would present and put forward information relevant to and related to my work persona Identity Woman and I am sticking with this persona in this context.  My Gmail address is after all

Last week I went back to what I had before we began this name silliness back and forth a symbol in my last name field on my Google profile for the last 4 years. I have gone ahead and listed other names as "Hamlin, Young, Identity Woman". You are refusing this option.  This seems like the best compromise position all around. A win-win.

So I am not really sure where to go with this. Is there a human being I can talk to? How do I actually move through this process. Continuing to interact with faceless, first name only people in e-mail and via ever changing rejection notes on my profile is not working for me.

You can review our name guidelines at

If you edit your name to comply with our policies in the future, please respond to this email so that we can re-review your profile.

I am not editing my profile. I want to talk with a human being to resolve this or alternatively we can a committee meeting with your team at Google.

This feels like I am being put on trial for my choice of name.

It feels dehumanizing and unjust.  I expect better from a company like Google.





The Google Profiles Support Team

ps. What is your real name? I am curious to know more about you by looking you up on the internet and then maybe will have a better idea about how to persuade you to let my name be.

Getting Started with Identity

Welcome to the Identity Woman Blog

I am an advocate for the rights and dignity of our digital selves.

Top Posts:

How to Join NSTIC, IDESG: A Step-by-step Guide

How to Participate in NSTIC: A Step-by-step Guide

Where I am in the World:

I live on the East Bay of the San Francisco Bay.

ID360  April 9-10, Austin

NSTIC Management Council Retreat  April 22-23 in DC

Internet Identity Workshop - May 6-8, Mountain View, California.

SHARE: Catalyzing the Sharing Economy - May 13-14 in San Francisco

NSTIC 9th Plenary June 17-19 in DC

Cloud Identity Summit - July 19-22 in Monterey, California

Web of Change (tentative) Hollyhock, Cortez Island, BC, Canada

World Economic Forum - YGL Summit + Annual Meeting of New Champions - Sept 7-12 in Taijin, China

Internet Identity Workshop number 19, October 4-6, Mountain View California

Latest Media:

NSTIC in Tech President: In Obama Administration’s People-Powered Digital Security Initiative, There’s Lots of Security, Fewer People 

Article on the BC eID Citizen Engagement Panel in Re:ID. PDF: reid_spring_14-BC

Fast Company Live Chat: On Taking Back Your Data

Fast Company: World Changing Ideas of 2014: You Will Take your Data Back

Posts on NSTIC:

  • Participatory Totalitarianism! - My TEDxBrussels Talk about how if we don't get this NSTIC stuff right we will end up in a really creepy world.  It references my struggles with Google+ to use the name I chose for my online self.

Posts about Identity:

  •  NymWars - My Personal Saga with Google in the [psuedo] NymWars to use the name I choose on their service - annotation of all my posts.
  • My speech at the Digital Privacy Forum in January 2011 articulating a vision that goes beyond "Do-Not-Track" vs. Business as Usual, creating a new ecosystem where people collect their own data.

Organizations and Events I share leadership in:

  • I am co-leading a new project - more details coming soon.
  • I am on the Management Council of the IDESG - the Identity Ecosystem Steering Group of NSTIC - the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace.
  • I co-founded, co-produce and co-facilitate the Internet Identity Workshop #18 May 6-8  in Mountain View, CA. This conference has focused on User-Centric Identity since 2005.
  • I am a steward of Identity Commons which keeps all the organizations and groups working on user-centric identity linked together.
  • I am the volunteer network director at the civil society organization I have been affiliated with since 2003.
  • I founded She's Geeky a women's only unconfernece for those in Technology and STEAM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math)
  • I co-founded Digital Death Day and work with that community to continue to host events on the issue. You can see a video of me talking at Privacy Identity and Innovation about this. The next conference is in London on October 6th.
  • I own a business that designs and facilitations participant driven events for a range of clients (IIW, She's Geeky and Digital Death Day are all Unconferences).

Potential Future: Google-Zon

With the nymwars unfolding (Nym = Pseudonym , Anonymous and other varities on this theme) this video of the Google-Zon story in the year 2014 seems more prescient then ever.

Please watch the video on the Original Site the way it was done is amazing. 

EPIC in this video stands for the Electronic Personalized Information Construct

The computer writes a new story for every user (sound like the Filter Bubble?) everyone contributes and in exchange gets a cut of the revenue...

We stand for the exact oposite vision at the Personal Data Ecosystem Consortium where people have control over their own data and manage the rights to access it and shape things.

Starting on the OASIS IDtrust member steering committee

I started a new "job" last week, serving on the OASIS Identity and Trusted Infrastructure (IDtrust) Member Section, member steering committee.  I was elected to a 2 year term on this 5 member board.  This was my candidate statement and remains as my profile. On my first call as a member of the committee I was part of approving 8K of money including sponsoring the upcoming Interent Identity Workshop.

I shared with my fellow board members

in my introductory call that I was keen to link this work with other work that is related and ongoing at other standards efforts like the W3C where I have been participating in the Federated Social Web work.  There is also independent efforts like OpenID and OAuth happening within IETF.  One of our next tasks at Personal Data Ecosystem Consortium is to outline the core standards relevant to personal data.  We are not going to invent anything new - rather help what is be found and adopted and adapted.

Why Does participation in an International Standards body matter?

If “code is law,” then standards are like the Senate.  - Bruce Sterling, commenting on the April 2011 Augmented Reality Standards gathering

Read the rest of this entry »

Gender Matters in CS & Tech & The World

I don't need to say much. This graphic from the New York Times explains it simply  Computer Science and Engineering are getting worse for women and have been for 10 years. These industries are where law and medicine were in the 50's and 60's.  I share this fact with people from other industries and they look at me funny and say "really" - YES really. They have believed the myth that technology is a a meritocracy and really progressive.

Read the rest of this entry »

OpenID Connect Tech Summit - Next Week

I got this note today from the folks at OpenID. I will be attending some of the event. If you are keen on understanding the future of this technology it is worth attending. I am actually quite positive about the user-experience and research that is informing this next generation fo the OpenID protocol and hopeful it gives an alternative for the whole web to Facebook Connect.

OpenID “Connect Tech” Summit - September 12-13, 2011

The OpenID Foundation is launching its third OpenID Summit for 2011. This event is co-sponsored by Microsoft and will be held at the Microsoft Research Campus in Mountain View.  The OpenID Foundation's 2011 series of OpenID Summits focuses on use cases and topics of interest to key developers, executives and analysts in the online identity industry.

This OpenID summit gives web site developers and technologists a closer look at the OpenID Connect protocol, its use cases and adoption plans by leading companies. We will introduce "Account Chooser" its implementation and user experience and provide interop testing and feedback for next generation OpenID adoption.

Please join us on Monday, September 12, 2011 from 12:00 Noon until 5:00pm PDT and Tuesday, September 13, 2011 from 10:00am to 4:30pm PDT.

Registration is now open at the following link: REGISTER NOW!

Read the rest of this entry »

Mononym officially "not" accepted. I'm Kaliya. Google get a clue.


Let me be very frank.

Kaliya says to Google:
"Why should I have to justify my name to you?"

My name is Kaliya

Just me. That is what it was on my profile before you decided that i had to have letters in my last name.

Type me into Google nymrods, 5 of the posts on the fronte page are me...the other 5 are for a figure in Hindu mythology.

What is the top post for "me"? Its the "Identity Woman" blog, then my Fast Company blog post on  NSTIC written as Identity Woman, then my flickr photos (Kaliya), linkedIn (Kaliya), Slideshar's (Kaliya) and finally my unconference site (Kaliya).

I chose to have Identity Woman as my last name when you rejected my choice to go with the mononym "Kaliya *". That is how people know me. It is how I want to be known.

I am NOT putting my soon to be ex-husband's, have been separated amicably  for 3 years, last name as "my name" as the top of my profile on Googoe+.

[TO BE CLEAR. My ex and I are on good terms and I really didn't want to bring this up in public-public on my blog because it is not my practice to discuss personal matters on this blog and cause it is nobody's business what my marital status is.  I made the choice to share this very real personal life situation I face to make the point I am trying to make. On another note he is also very supportive of my work on these issues for freedom on the internet.]

I am totally fine listing this last name in the "other" field along with my maiden name.  I am not particularly attached to either name. I have a an idea for a future last name and I might change it in several years in the mean time I don't want to promote this "other" name that isn't "mine" as the headline of my profile. Both Young and Hamlin are part of my legal name. They are my wallet names  (as Skud has so aptly put it) and in some way they are my names but they are not "my" names.

When people who don't know me that well call me "Ms. Hamlin" I object politely and say "please just call me Kaliya - Hamlin is not "my" name".  Everyone who I have made this request have honored it. If they didn't I wouldn't be their friend for very long. As Bob Blakeley from Gartner (formerly Burton Group) explains, names are social and if you don't call people what they want to be called they won't respond.

Google, My name is Kaliya.

If you don't honor this request. I won't be your friend any more. Just like Bob explained.



G-Male is a Good Listener, Maybe too good.

Ok, now we know what is wrong :) Google is on the [autism] spectrum.

"The obstacles primarily exist in the realm of social interaction. The fundamental problem is akin to blindness, as the term social blindness suggests."

They keep doing well meaning but awkward feeling things because well they know how to technically but it isn't how human beings act or want to be treated.
Read the rest of this entry »

Join us for IIW - NSTIC, Nymwars, OpenID, Personal Data, and more.

Founded in 2005 by me, Doc Searls, and Phil Windley (Yes it is an odd but fun bunch), IIW is focused  on user-centric digital identity.   Registration is Open!

Internet Identity Workshop #13 October 18-20 in Mountain View

The Internet Identity Workshop focuses on “user-centric identity” and trying to solve the technical challenge of how people can manage their own identity across the range of websites, services, companies and organizations that they belong to, purchase from and participate with. We also work on trying to address social and legal issues that arise with these new tools.  This conference we are going to also focus some attention on business models that can make this ecology of web services thrive.

The NSTIC Stakeholder community has been invited.

Read the rest of this entry »

Learning to stand up for my Identity, began with O'Reilly | She bows in gratitude for the teaching.

The first time I had my "identity" erased was actually by O'Reilly. Ok, to be fair it was by his people.

I was invited to attend Foo Camp in 2006 and was then invited to speak at both Web 2.0 Expo and Emerging Telephony in 2007.  So, I was asked to fill out my speaker information and list my "company affiliation" as Identity Woman. I didn't really work for anyone (I really never have) and that was my "identity" after all.  So I think they will get it and its all good.

I am really excited I was asked to speak and really like wow! its an O'Reilly Conference and Wow! and I want to see my name in the program - for the first time a program of a major conference....I open it up and well...I'm not Identity Woman. My identity was erased because "Identity Woman" didn't meet their "style guidelines".

Read the rest of this entry »

Please vote for my SXSW panels

30% of the panels at the SXSW conference are picked by people's votes so please if you care about these topics and want to see them covered please Vote for Me!

Personal Data Triple Win: People, Business & Gov - Kaliya Hamlin solo short talk

Obama & NSTIC: All Your IDs Are Belong to U(S) - Kaliya Hamlin on panel with others

Let My Data Go! Open data portability standards - Kaliya Hamlin, Phil Wolff

Rules for Innovators of User Centric Personal Data - Mary Hodder panel organizer

Successful Unconference Patterns - Jennifer Holmes, Kaliya Hamlin


1 month anniversary of Goggle Gag

Its been a month now.

I have filled out the "application form" 3 times. This was my first post about it: Google+ and my "real" name: Yes, I'm Identity Woman

The most recent rejection letter when I applied to be a mononym (which I was before this all started) was from "Anonymous Nick"...

Re: [#859600835] Google Profile Name Review

Read the rest of this entry »

Is Google+ is being lynched by out-spoken users upset by real names policy?

Following my post yesterday Google+ says your name is "Toby" not "Kunta Kinte", I chronicled tweets from this morning's back and forth with  Tim O'Reilly and Kevin MarksNishant  KaushikPhil Hunt,  Steve Bogart and Suw Charman-Anderson.

I wrote the original post after watching the Bradley Horwitz (@elatable) - Tim O'Reilly (@timoreilly) interview re: Google+. I found Tim's choice of words about the tone (strident) and judgement (self-righteous) towards those standing up for their freedom to choose their own names on the new social network being rolled out by Google internet's predominant search engine disappointing.  His response to my post was to call me self-righteous and reiterate that this was just a market issue.

I myself have been the victim of a Google+ suspension since July 31st and yesterday I applied for a mononym profile (which is what it was before they insisted I fill out my last name which I chose to do so with my online handle and real life identity "Identity Woman") 

In the thread this morning Tim said that the kind of pressure being aimed at Google is way worse then anything they are doing and that in fact Google was the subject of a "lynch mob" by these same people.  Sigh, I guess Tim hasn't read much history but I have included some quotes form and links to wikipedia for additional historial context.

Update: inspired in part by this post an amazing post "about tone" as a silencing/ignoring tactics when difficult, uncomfortable challenges are raised in situations of privilege was written by Shiela Marie.  

I think there is a need for greater understanding all around and that perhaps blogging and tweeting isn't really the best way to address it.  I know that in the identity community when we first formed once we started meeting one another in person and really having deep dialogues in analogue form that deeper understanding emerged.  IIW the place we have been gathering for 6 years and talking about the identity issues of the internet and other digital systems is coming up in mid-October and all are welcome.  The agenda is created live the day of the event and all topics are welcome.

Here's the thread... (oldest tweets first)

 Note all the images of tweets in this thread are linked to the actual tweet (unless they erased the tweet).  Read the rest of this entry »

Google+ says your name is "Toby" NOT "Kunta Kinte"

This post is about what is going on at a deeper level when Google+ says your name is "Toby" NOT "Kunta Kinte". The punchline video is at the bottom feel free to scroll there and watch if you don't want to read to much.

This whole line of thought to explain to those who don't get what is going on with Google+ names policy arose yesterday after I watched the Bradley Horwitz - Tim O'Reilly interview (they start talking about the real names issue at about minute 24).

Read the rest of this entry »

Lets try going with the Mononym for Google+

Seeing that Google+ is approving mononyms for some (Original Sai, on the construction of names Additional Post) but not for others (Original Stilgherrian Post Update post ).

I decided to go in and change my profile basically back to what it was before all this started.  I put a  ( . ) dot in the last name field.  In my original version of my google proflile my last name was a * and when they said that was not acceptable I put my last name as my online handle "Identity Woman".

Read the rest of this entry »

Protocols are Political, NSTIC NOI Appendix 11

Appendix 11 of Kaliya's NSTIC Governance NOI Response - please see this page for the overview and links to the rest of the posts. Here is a link to the PDF.

Excerpted from Protocol: how control exists after decentralization, by Alexander Galloway, MIT Press, 2004. Page 245-246.   (I first mentioned book on my blog in 2005)

Protocol is that machine, that massive control apparatus that guides distributed networks, creates cultural objects and engenders life forms.

This is an excerpt of about 1/2 of the authors summarizing moments selected from previous chapters:

  • Protocol is a universalism achieved through negotiation, meaning that in the future protocol can and will be different.
  • The goal of protocol is totality. It must accept everything, not matter what source, sender, or destination. It consumes diversity, aiming instead for university.
  • Internet protocols allow for inter-operation between computers.
  • Protocol is a language that regulates flow, directs netspace, codes relationships, and connects life forms. It is etiquette for autonomous agents.
  • Protocol’s virtues include robustness, contingency, inter-operability, flexibility, heterogeneity, an pantheism.
  • Protocol is a type of controlling logic that operates largely outside institutional, government and corporate power.
  • Protocol is a system of distributed management that facilitates peer-to-peer relationships between autonomous entities.
  • Protocol is synonymous with possibility.

Protocol then becomes more and more coextensive with humanity’s productive forces, and ultimately becomes the blueprint for humanity’s inner-most desires about the world and how it ought to be lived.

This makes protocol dangerous - ....A colleague Patrick Feng said recently: “Creating core protocols is something akin to constitutional law,” meaning that protocols create the core set of rules from which all other decisions descend. And like Supreme Court justices having control over the interpretation of the American Constitution, whoever has power over the creation of such protocols wields power over a very broad area indeed. In this sense protocols is dangerous.


It is important to remember that the technical is always political, that network architecture is politics. So protocol necessarily involves a complex interrelation of political questions, some progressive some reactionary. In many ways protocol is a dramatic move forward but in other ways it reinstates systems of social and technical control that are deserving of critical analysis.

This post is part of Kaliya's NSTIC Governance NOI Response - please see this page for the overview and links to the rest of the posts. Here is a link to the PDF.

This is the section before: Who is Harmed by a “Real Names” Policy?

Who is Harmed by a “Real Names” Policy?, NSTIC NOI Appendix 10

This post is Appendix 10 of Kaliya's NSTIC Governance NOI Response - please see this page for the overview and links to the rest of the posts. Here is a link to the PDF.

Who is Harmed by a "Real Names" Policy?

This is a reformatted version of - please go to that wiki for the most recent version of that document.

From the Geek Feminism Wiki:

The groups of people who use pseudonyms, or want to use pseudonyms, are not a small minority....However, their needs are often ignored by the relatively privileged designers and policy-makers who want people to use their real/legal names.

For the groups listed below the costs for using a real name can be quite significant, including:

  • harassment, both online and offline
  • discrimination in employment, provision of services, etc.
  • actual physical danger of bullying, hate crime, etc.
  • arrest, imprisonment, or execution in some jurisdictions
  • economic harm such as job loss, loss of professional reputation, etc.
  • social costs of not being able to interact with friends and colleagues
  • possible (temporary) loss of access to their data if their account is suspended or terminated

Privilege is described as a set of perceived advantages enjoyed by a majority group, who are usually unaware of the privilege they possess. A privileged person is not necessarily prejudiced (sexist, racist, etc) as an individual, but may be part of a broader pattern of *-ism even though unaware of it. A good article to understand this is  "Check my what?" On privilege and what we can do about it."

This lists groups of people who are disadvantaged by any policy which bans pseudonymity and requires so-called "Real names" (more properly, legal names).

Read the rest of this entry »

Anti-pseudonym Bingo, NSTIC NOI Appendix 9

This post is Appendices 8 and 9 of Kaliya's NSTIC Governance NOI Response - please see this page for the overview and links to the rest of the posts. Here is a link to the PDF.

Anti-pseudonym Bingo

Wanting to and being able to use your legal name everywhere is associated with privilege.

The geek feminism blog published Anti-pseudonym bingo where the the idea is to play it against a commenter or a comment thread who is against pseudonymity.     A full row or column wins! (The free square is a giveaway.) 

Read the rest of this entry »

Resource Guide on Public Engagement, NSTIC NOI Appendix 7

This post is Appendix 7 of Kaliya's NSTIC Governance NOI Response - please see this page for the overview and links to the rest of the posts. Here is a link to the PDF.

Resource Guide on Public Engagement 
Created collaboratively by the dialogue & deliberation community.

From NCDD’s October 2010 Resource Guide on Public Engagement:

Careful Planning and Preparation
Through adequate and inclusive planning, ensure that the design, organization, and convening of the
process serve both a clearly defined purpose and the needs of the participants.

Inclusion and Demographic Diversity
Equitably incorporate diverse people, voices, ideas, and information to lay the groundwork for quality
outcomes and democratic legitimacy.

Collaboration and Shared Purpose
Support and encourage participants, government and community institutions, and others to work
together to advance the common good.

Openness and Learning
Help all involved listen to each other, explore new ideas unconstrained by predetermined outcomes,
learn and apply information in ways that generate new options, and rigorously evaluate the process.

Transparency and Trust
Be clear and open about the process, and provide a public record of the organizers, sponsors, outcomes, and range of views and ideas expressed.

Impact and Action
Ensure each participatory effort has real potential to make a difference, and that participants are
aware of that potential.

Sustained Engagement and Participatory Culture
Promote a culture of participation with programs and institutions that support ongoing quality public
In spring 2009, the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD), the International Association of Public Participation (IAP2), and
the Co-Intelligence Institute engaged practitioners and scholars in the creation of these 7 Core Principles for Public Engagement, aimed at
creating clarity for practitioners, public managers, and community leaders about the fundamental components of quality public engagement.
Visit to download the full 12-page Principles document, which details what each principle looks like in practice and what
practitioners and leaders should avoid.

Descriptions of Processes
Intergroup Dialogues are face-to-face meetings of people from at least two different social identity groups. They are designed to offer
an open and inclusive space where participants can foster a deeper understanding of diversity and justice issues through participation in
experiential activities, individual and small group reflections, and dialogues. and
National Issues Forums offer citizens the opportunity to join together to deliberate, to make choices with others about ways to approach
diffcult issues and to work toward creating reasoned public judgment. NIF is known for its careful issue framing and quality issue guides
which outline 3 or 4 different viewpoints.

Open Space Technology is a self-organizing practice that invites people to take responsibility for what they care about. In Open Space,
a marketplace of inquiry is created where people offer topics they are passionate about and reflect and learn from one another. It is an
innovative approach to creating whole systems change and inspiring creativity and leadership among participants.

The Public Conversations Project helps people with fundamental disagreements over divisive issues develop the mutual understanding
and trust essential for strong communities and positive action. Their dialogue model is characterized by a careful preparatory phase in which
all stakeholders/sides are interviewed and prepared for the dialogue process.

Socrates Cafés and other forms of Socratic Dialogue encourage groups inside and outside the classroom to engage in robust philosophical
inquiry. The Cafés consist of spontaneous yet rigorous dialogue that inspires people to articulate and discover their unique philosophical
perspectives and worldview. They don’t force consensus or closure, but are open-ended and can be considered a success if there are more
questions at the end than there were at the outset.

Study Circles enable communities to strengthen their own ability to solve problems by bringing large numbers of people together in
dialogue across divides of race, income, age, and political viewpoints. Study Circles combine dialogue, deliberation, and community
organizing techniques, enabling public talk to build understanding, explore a range of solutions, and serve as a catalyst for social, political,
and policy change.

Sustained Dialogue is a process for transforming and building the relationships that are essential to democratic political and economic
practice. SD is not a problem-solving workshop; it is a sustained interaction to transform and build relationships among members of deeply
conflicted groups so that they may effectively deal with practical problems. As a process that develops over time through a sequence of
meetings, SD seems to move through a series of recognizable phases including a deliberative “scenario-building” stage and an “acting
together” stage.

Victim Offender Mediation is a restorative justice process that allows the victim of a crime and the person who committed that crime to talk
to each other about what happened, the effects of the crime on their lives, and their feelings about it. They may choose to create a mutually
agreeable plan to repair any damages that occurred as a result of the crime. In some practices, the victim and the offender are joined by
family and community members or others.

A Wisdom Circle is a small group dialogue designed to encourage people to listen and speak from the heart in a spirit of inquiry. By opening
and closing the circle with a simple ritual of the group’s choosing, using a talking object, and welcoming silence, a safe space is created where
participants can be trusting, authentic, caring, and open to change. Also referred to as Council process and Listening Circles.

Wisdom Councils are microcosms of larger systems like cities and organizations that engage in a creative, thoughtful exploration of the
issues affecting the system. A specialized facilitation process is used called “Dynamic Facilitation” - a nonlinear approach for addressing
complex issues that allows shared insights and aligned action to emerge. The outcomes of the Wisdom Council, which are reported back to
the community, can catalyze further dialogue, self-organizing action and change throughout the larger system.

World Cafés enable groups of people to participate together in evolving rounds of dialogue with three or four others while at the same time
remaining part of a single, larger, connected conversation. Small, intimate conversations link and build on each other as people move between
groups, cross-pollinate ideas, and discover new insights into questions or issues that really matter in their life, work, or community.

This post is Appendix 7 of Kaliya's NSTIC Governance NOI Response - please see this page for the overview and links to the rest of the posts. Here is a link to the PDF.

This is the section before: Reboot: Deliberative Democracy

This is the section after: Anti-pseudonym bingo

Reboot: Deliberative Democracy

I was asked by Allison Fine to contribute to the Personal Democracy Forum  Rebooting America anthology.

This article looks at three leading edge deliberative methods that engage small groups of citizens representing voices of the whole.  They all were invented before personal computing and all could be augmented. You can see the methods outline in a chart in Appendix 6 and the eight steps of the processes are described in this article.

Deliberative Democracy in Theory and Practice

Kaliya Hamlin

"At the heart of America’s liberal democracy are competitive elections, but this design choice does not enhance collective intelligence and wisdom.”

John Ralston Saul, in “The Unconscious Civilization,” wrote “The most powerful force possessed by the individual citizen is her own government. ... Government is the only organized mechanism that makes possible that level of shared disinterest known as the public good.” During the winter of 1997, fifteen Boston citi-zens—from a homeless shelter resident to a high-tech business manager, from a retired farmer to a recent inner-city high school graduate— undertook an intensive study of telecommunications issues. Over two weekends in February and March, they discussed background readings and got introductory briefings. Then, on April 2nd and 3rd, they heard ten hours of testimony from experts, computer specialists, government officials, business executives, educators, and interest-group representatives. After interrogating the experts and deliberating late into the night (with excellent facilitation), they came up with a consensus statement recommending judicious but far-reaching policy changes which they presented at a press conference at Tufts University, covered by WCVB-TV/CNN and the Boston Globe, among other news organizations. U.S. Representative Edward J. Markey, ranking Democrat (and former Chair) of the House Telecommunications Subcommittee, said, “This is a process that I hope will be repeated in other parts of the country and on other issues.”

These ordinary citizens ended up knowing more about telecommunications than the average congressperson who votes on the issue. Dick Sclove, a lead organizer of the event, says that their behavior contradicted the assertion that government and business officials are the only ones competent and caring enough to be involved in technological decision-making. This lay panel assimilated a broad array of testimony, which they integrated with their own very diverse life experiences to reach a well-reasoned collective judgment grounded in the real needs of everyday people. This proves that democratizing U.S. science and technology decision-making is not only advisable, but also possible and practical.21

When the Framers of our Constitution met in Philadelphia in 1787, digital media, modern psychology, social psychology, and ecological and systems science did not exist. The deliberative democracy approach outlined above and expanded upon in this essay integrates the best of face-to-face social collaboration technologies with information and communication technologies for wise governance decisions. Using these kinds of processes and technologies we can actually hear what my collaborator and network colleague Tom Atlee calls the Voice of “We the People” expressing the public good.22

At the heart of America’s liberal democracy are competitive elections, but this design choice does not enhance collective intelligence and wisdom. It fragments communities and societies into reductionist, adversarial “sides” and reduces complex spectra of possibilities to oversimplified “positions” that preclude creative alternatives. The norm is that citizens abdicate decision-making to elected officials, who are in turn heavily influenced by the special interests they must serve to raise money to be re-elected. With few exceptions, existing processes of democracy

  • Do not provide much effective power to ordinary citizens
  • Promote at least as much ignorance and distraction as informed public dialogue
  • Serve special interests better than the general welfare
  • Impede breakthroughs that could creatively resolve problems and conflicts, and
  • Undermine the emergence of inclusive community wisdom

Voting developed as a process to support self-governance in American history, and at its inception in the 18th century it was new and innovative. In the town halls of New England, citizens gathered together, debated, and decided among themselves those who would hold leadership positions in the community. The method has not scaled to address the wicked problems we as a country and world face. Wicked problems are incomplete, contradictory and have changing requirements; and solutions to them are often difficult to recognize because of their complex interdependencies—solutions may reveal or create more wicked problems.23 Economic, environmental, social, and political issues are wicked problems.

In Tom Atlee’s book, The Tao of Democracy: Using Co-Intelligence to Create a World that Works for All,24 he highlights several working examples of Citizen Deliberative Councils., including Citizen Jury, Consensus Conference, and Wisdom Council.25

These efforts have common characteristics that can be replicated in other communities. They are, to some extent, official, with an explicit mandate from government agencies to address public issues or the general concerns of the community. They generate a specific product such as findings or recommendations to the larger community and elected officials. They are real councils, meaning that they are in-person, face-to-face assemblies. Council members are from a fair cross-sec-tion of society, often randomly selected peer citizens. These bodies are temporary, not meeting for more than a few weeks. Their efforts are deliberative and balanced, and often facilitated to help participants to understand diverse points of view.

These processes were created before the Web existed, and as such were labor intensive, expensive and difficult to scale.26 But now we have an emerging suite of online tools that can augment these processes and reduce their costs. The right combination of face-to-face deliberation with online tools can be as revolutionary as the self-governance process developed by the Framers in 1787.

Any neighborhood council, city council, region, state or even national lawmakers can use these processes to tap the wisdom and deci-sion-making potential of the people. Here’s how it could work:

Pick an Issue. Choose the topic from all the possible problems that could be tackled. Issues can be surfaced online using popular participation websites such as Digg that allow users to rank issues or polling via a network like Twitter.

Frame the Issue. Framing an issue for deliberation means describing the range of approaches to an issue and the arguments and evidence for and against each approach. A wiki is the kind of tool that will allow large groups of people (think Wikipedia) to work on understanding and elucidating an issue together.

Select Deliberators. This step is key to the legitimacy of citizen councils. The selection of deliberators must represent the diversity of the community and be resistant to outside pressures. This gives them a legitimacy that is similar to, but more refined than, the selection of juries, which also seeks to convene a cross-section of the community. Database tools can be used to create unbiased and inclusive selections of deliberators. These same kinds of tools can also be used to pool citizens willing to participate in deliberative councils.

Collect Information and Expertise. Gathering information from a range of experts and stakeholders about the pros and cons of different approaches is the next step. This is an important factor in both collective intelligence (which learns from and integrates diverse views) and legitimacy (the willingness of ordinary citizens and officials to respect the outcomes of the process). We can find experts via the Web, draw in their expert testimony via web video conferencing, and perhaps have online forums where their knowledge is aggregated. Massive datasets of expert information are now free and available about critical issues, such as environmental toxins and the relationship between lobbying funds and legislation in Congress. These can be compiled, presented and widely shared with visualization tools, using methods beyond prose or PowerPoint to present critical information and tell relevant stories.

Deliberation. Most citizen deliberative councils involve 12-24 deliberators meeting in concentrated dialogue over four to eight days (distributed over one to ten weeks, depending on the method), led by professional facilitators. Since this may not be feasible in all circumstances, we can use the distributed intelligence of the Web to augment the in-person deliberations. Deliberations can happen both online and face-to-face over time, thus reducing the time and cost. Different algorithmic and semantic tools can be used to help deliberators see patterns of agreement and understanding.

Decision-Making. It is important to find processes that produce a deliberative Voice of “We the People” that the vast majority of the population will recognize as legitimate. Online tools like Synanim. com build consensus and shared statements using a multi-step online process. Iteration can also happen using methods like Digg or Slash-dot-style voting and community commentary.

Dissemination and Impact. It is critically important to the ultimate success of citizen deliberative councils that their impact on public awareness, public policy, and public programs be discussed and understood. Online tools are critical to these assessments in a variety of ways. Politicians and other officials should also sign pledges in support of these efforts (this can be a campaign issue) that can be shared online. Ongoing feedback can be integrated and continually shared with the public using online phenomena like Facebook and organized networks like to share results and empower “We the People” to ensure its Voice is heard.

The approaches and processes discussed in this essay are not an answer to our democratic woes and difficulties. The tools and advantages of the Internet alone aren’t enough to augment existing democratic processes and strengthen our country. This essay is intended as a call to action and research to learn how best to scale new methods of citizen consultation, leadership, and wisdom together with online tools. I invite a more thorough exploration of how these steps can create a deep well of ongoing, meaningful citizen participation in the critical decisions of our government at all levels.

About the Author
Kaliya Young Hamlin designs and facilitates gatherings of professional technical communities addressing large challenges. She is an expert in the field of user-centric digital identity, blogging at and Born and raised in Vancouver, Canada she has lived her whole adult life in the United States and recently applied for citizenship.

21 “Ordinary Folks Make Good Policy,” Co-Intelligencer website,, downloaded April 18, 2008.

22 How Can We Create an Authentic, Inclusive Voice of We the People from the Grassroots Up? Initiated by Tom Atlee Modified by/commented on by Kaliya Hamlin

23 Wicked problems are defined here:

24 Atlee, Tom, The Tao of Democracy: Using co-Intelligence to Create a World that Works for All, available here:

25 The reader can learn more about these efforts at the following websites: http://www., stories/2003/03/23/citizenDeliberativeCouncils.html#13, Citizens’_jury,,

26 Scaling in the computing, network sense is the ability to to either handle growing amounts of work in a graceful manner, or to be readily enlarged. In practical terms a website that can handle 2000 visitors a day may not work with 10,000 or 100,000 or a million visitors day. The democratic voting process that worked well in a New England town of 1,000 people or a state of 10,000 citizens is not scaling well to a nation of three hundred million.

This post is Appendix 5 and 6 of Kaliya's NSTIC Governance NOI Response - please see this page for the overview and links to the rest of the posts. Here is a link to the PDF.

This is the section before: People Diversity

This is the section after: Resource Guide on Public Engagement


People Diversity, NSTIC NOI Appendix 3

This post is Appendix 3 of Kaliya's NSTIC Governance NOI Response - please see this page for the overview and links to the rest of the posts. Here is a link to the PDF.

People Diversity represented in digital identity systems

Lifecycle perspectives

  • being born
  • being adopted
  • being a child
  • being a teenager
  • being a foster child
  • being a proto-adult (college)
  • adult
  • partnership/marriage
  • having children
  • retiring
  • dying
  • being dead


Rights/needs of particular constituencies

  • Women
  • Domestic Violence Victims
  • Ethnic Groups - African American, Latino, Asian, Native American,
  • Mental Health and Physical Disease Groups
  • Religious Groups
  • Disability (Physical and Intellectual)
  • Sexual Minorities


Civil Society Groups

  • Environmental
  • Social Service
  • Schools
  • Sports Teams and other Civic Leagues
  • Trade Associations
  • Technology Types (Smart Cards)
  • Industry Sector (Hospitals,



Academic Researchers

  • Sociologists
  • Legal Scholars
  • Computer Scientists


Advocacy Groups

  • Privacy Industries
  • Banking
  • Data Brokers
  • Telecommunications
  • Web Services (google, yahoo, twitter)
  • Internet Service Providers
  • Cable
  • Health Care
  • Electric Utility
  • Gas Utility




  • National
  • State
  • County
  • Municipal
  • Neighborhood
  • Tribal


International Standards Development Organizations (W3C, IETF, OASIS, ISO, ITU-T)

International Nonprofit and Government Organizations (OECD, WEF)


This post is Appendix 3 of Kaliya's NSTIC Governance NOI Response - please see this page for the overview and links to the rest of the posts. Here is a link to the PDF.

This is the section before: The Augmented Social Network:  Building identity and trust into the next-generation Internet

This is the section after: Reboot: Deliberative Democracy



The Augmented Social Network: Building Identity and Trust into the Next-Generation Internet, NSTIC NOI Appendix 2

This post is Appendix 2 of Kaliya's NSTIC Governance NOI Response - please see this page for the overview and links to the rest of the posts. Here is a link to the PDF.

It is 10 page exempt by Bill Densmore ( 5,600  words) from the original ASN Paper (34,000 words)

The Augmented Social Network: Building identity and trust into the next-generation Internet

The need for a civil-society, not just commercial, solution.

PAPER by Ken Jordan, Jan Hauser and Steven Foster (bios at end)

Original full text available at:

Could the next generation of online communications strengthen civil society by better connecting people to others with whom they share affinities, so they can more effectively exchange information and self-organize? Could such a system help to revitalize democracy in the 21st century? When networked personal computing was first developed, engineers concentrated on extending creativity among individuals and enhancing collaboration between a few. They did not much consider what social interaction among millions of Internet users would actually entail.  It was thought that the Net’s technical architecture need not address the issues of "personal identity" and "trust," since those matters tended to take care of themselves. This paper proposes the creation of an Augmented Social Network (ASN) that would build identity and trust into the architecture of the Internet, in the public interest, in order to facilitate introductions between people who share affinities or complementary capabilities across social networks.


The ASN  has three main objectives. 

  1. To create an Internet-wide system that enables more efficient and effective knowledge sharing between people across institutional, geographic, and social boundaries.
  2. To establish a form of persistent online identity that supports the public commons and the values of civil society.
  3. To enhance the ability of citizens to form relationships and self-organize around shared interests in communities of practice in order to better engage in the process of democratic governance.

In this paper we present a model for a next generation online community that can achieve these goals.  In effect, the ASN proposes a form of "online citizenship" for the Information Age.

The ASN weaves together four distinct technical areas into components of an interdependent system. The four main elements of the ASN are: Persistent online identity; interoperability between communities; brokered relationships; and, public interest matching technologies. Each of these is discussed in a separate section in detail.

The four main elements of the ASN are:

  1. Enabling individuals online to maintain a persistent identity as they move between different Internet communities, and to have personal control over that identity. This identity should be multifarious and ambiguous (as identity is in life itself), capable of reflecting an endless variety of interests, needs, desires, and relationships. It should not be reduced to a recitation of our purchase preferences, since who we are can not be reduced to what we buy.
  2. Interoperability Between Online Communities. People should be able to cross easily between online communities under narrowly defined circumstances, just as in life we can move from one social network to another.
  3. Brokered Relationships. Using databased information, online brokers (both automated and "live") should be able to facilitate the introduction between people who share affinities and/or complementary capabilities and are seeking to make connections . . . Such a system of brokered relationships should also enable people to find information or media that is of interest to them, through the recommendations of trusted third parties.
  4. Matching technologies need to be broad and robust enough to include the full range of political discussion about issues of public interest. They should not be confined to commercial or narrowly academic topics; NGOs and other public interest entities need to be represented in the process that determines these matching technologies.

The ASN calls for a public interest approach to online identity that enables individuals to express their interests outside contexts determined by commerce. This approach would include a digital profile that has an "affinity reference" that would facilitate connections to trusted third parties.

Aspects of the implementation could be undertaken by for-profit companies that respect these open standards, just as companies today profit from providing e-mail or Web pages. But to insure that the ASN meets its public interest objectives, participating organizations would have to agree to abide by the ASN’s principles of implementation.

The "next generation" of online community should be a manifestation of flourishing, innovative democracy that encourages the active participation of its citizenry. Asking for any less would be a betrayal of our highest ideals.

In this new world, you will have an online identity that remains constant, allowing for continuity between your experiences in separate online environments.  Well conceived, and done in the public interest, persistent identity could enhance interpersonal relationships and social organizing just as powerfully as the PC has extended personal creativity.

Two business-based initiatives — the Passport initiative that is part of Microsoft’s .Net architecture and the Liberty Alliance — are deliberate efforts to create de-facto standards for personal identity online. Unfortunately, these are primarily focused on how you behave as a consumer, rather than as an independent citizen apart from the commercial arena; their intent is to privatize this information, and then manage it in a way that gives them a share of every financial transaction you make. Current trends are pushing the Internet to become a closed, controlled, commercial space that most resembles a shopping mall. Certainly these initiatives show good business sense, but are they sound public policy?

But as the online social network grew from a few hundred to the many millions — becoming, effectively, many different, overlapping social networks — the ability to identify affinities and establish trust through the Net withered. And perhaps most importantly, a myriad of online communities — both commercial and not-for-profit — have emerged with little to no interoperability with one another. They exist as separate, isolated islands of discourse, unable to exchange meaningful information, leverage their accumulated knowledge, or connect with other communities that share their concerns.

Without trusted relationships, civil society comes undone.  In effect, the ASN promises new tools that will support citizen involvement in governance. Already de facto standards for online identity and trust are being established. But where is the voice of civil society in these discussions?  The intention is for the ASN to become the de facto standard for Internet-wide online community interactions — the functionality described in the scenarios above should be the norm. But it is important to understand that the ASN can be effective if used by only a fraction of the Internet’s community members. The ASN can be launched as a sub-set of all online community activity. Then, over time, as it proves itself to be valuable, the ASN’s applications, protocols, and standards can be adopted by a growing number of Internet communities.


The essential technical elements of the ASN are as follows:

1. Persistent Identity. As federated network identity becomes ubiquitous on the Internet, spearheaded by industry initiatives such as the Liberty Alliance and Passport, civil society organizations will need to articulate a public interest approach to persistent online identity that supports the public commons. As one aspect of a public interest vision of persistent identity, we propose (a) a civil society digital profile that represents an individual’s interests and concerns that relate to his or her role as a citizen engaged in forms of democratic governance. One aspect of this civil society approach would be to provide a working model for persistent identity that gives individuals a high level of control over how their profile is used. In particular, the digital profile should include the ability for each individual to (b) express affinities and capabilities, and to list or assist in the discovery of other trusted individuals who share these interests. The purpose of this functionality is to enable automated agents or third party brokers to access this data in a digital profile, through a series of (c) introduction protocols, in order to provide connections between individuals who share affinities or have complementary capabilities. In this way, the ASN is able to introduce those who have shared affinities or complementary capabilities, including those who are members of wholly distinct online communities, based on the recommendations of trusted third parties. These recommendations might either be fully automated, in the case of less valuable or less sensitive relationships, or take place through a brokering service, when privacy, trust, and stakeholdership is of the highest concern.

2. Enhancements to Online Community Infrastructure. Some "walled garden" online communities have begun to implement ASN-type functionality within the confines of a single community infrastructure. With the implementation of the ASN, automated ASN interactions will take place across existing online community environments. In order to support this activity, modularized enhancements to the technical infrastructures of separate online communities will need to be developed and adopted. These enhancements are essentially of two types. The first is the writing and adoption of (a) interoperability protocols that will enable communication between the membership management databases of distinct online community infrastructures, so that ASN-related data can flow between separate online communities. The second is the development of modularized applications that enable (b) the pre-processing and post-processing of e-mail communications on online community infrastructures, as well as the ability to compose, address, and tag ASN messages appropriately. These applications would facilitate three types of activity. First, they would enable ASN users to (c) receive specially tagged automated introductions to others with whom they share affinities or have complementary capabilities.

3. Matching Technologies. For the ASN to be effective, the civil society issues addressed within the system have to be easily identified by searches, with matches made even when exact use of language does not correspond. To facilitate high quality searching which supports online discourse and networking in the public interest, there is a need for an initiative to develop (a) matching technologies for topics relevant to civil society, including public interest ontologies and taxonomies. Focused efforts must be established to insure that ontologies and taxonomies developed with standards such as XML, RDF and topic maps include consideration of those issues relevant to civil society. In addition, the ASN would develop (b) protocols for the interoperability of online ontological frameworks, so that the same set of data could be encountered through multiple perspectives, enabling comparisons of diverse viewpoints, which in itself would lead to new connections between disparate social networks.

4. Brokering Services. In instances when personal relationships are highly prized and carefully guarded, though still available through the ASN, an automated introduction system would not be advisable. In these cases, ASN users would engage a third party brokering service to carefully analyze potential affinity or complementary capability matches, and to provide (a) a brokered introduction. These interactions would not necessarily take place only within existing online community infrastructures, but also through the auspices of a brokering service that exists as a separate entity, designed to facilitate these more sensitive introductions. In these special cases, (b) context specific introduction protocols would be developed, allowing each social network to establish the terms through which introductions are made at a highly granular level, perhaps including intermediaries in the process in order to facilitate the initial person-to-person interactions.



. . . [W]hile the Web has developed a sophisticated system for the creation of "sites," there has yet to appear a good means to represent each of us as individuals in cyberspace. Every time we visit a new Web site, we enter as an anonymous person. Then, with our own labor, we create an identity within that specific site, following the rules as they are presented to us (For example: "Please click here to register ..."). Once we establish our identity on that Web site, it effectively becomes the property of the Web site owner. For this reason, URL-based communities are like walled castles with one-way doors; once you have created an identity on that Web site, it is only of use on that same Web site; it can never escape.

Shouldn’t we ask: in an ideal world, what kind of online identity would we want?

Many will protest that they do not want any form of online identity to be put in place. But the commercial sector is already creating the infrastructure that will support it, and there is nothing illegal about aggregating the information about what you buy that the system is being based upon. The challenge is not to stop this process, but rather to engage with it and influence it in order to insure that personal identity is implemented in the public interest, so that the system enhances, rather than detracts from, the public commons.

See: Also:



In recent years, online businesses began to see the advantages of a persistent identity that could be maintained by an individual as she surfs from site to site. A persistent identity would combine the aggregated information about a person that sophisticated Web sites currently collect with the verification feature enabled by digital certificates — so that a user’s digital profile could be shared by websites who choose to federate with one another. One of the major initiatives to establish such a form of federated network identity is the Liberty Alliance. In the introduction to the Liberty Alliance specifications document, the objective is succinctly expressed:

"Today, one’s identity on the Internet is fragmented across various identity providers — employers, Internet portals, various communities, and business services. This fragmentation yields isolated, high-friction, one-to-one customer-to-business relationships and experiences.

"Federated network identity is the key to reducing this friction and realizing new business taxonomies and opportunities, coupled with new economies of scale. In this new world of federated commerce, a user’s online identity, personal profile, personalized online configurations, buying habits and history, and shopping preferences will be administered by the user and securely shared with the organizations of the user’s choosing."

The challenge is to establish a form of federated network identity that is an appropriate representation of the self, one that is flexible enough to provide a range of "public faces," depending on context. Certainly, information that facilitates commercial transactions should be a part of this identity — but only part. Defining the full potential of online identity, and pushing for the actualization of that vision as part of the development of the "next generation" Internet, deserves to be a public interest priority.

While there are several independent initiatives focusing on persistent identity, the field is being paced by two large scale efforts that, because of their access to resources and their position in the market, dominate discussion of the issue — and will likely determine the system everyone else will ultimately use to implement federated network identity. These are the Liberty Alliance, which was mentioned above, Microsoft’s .Net identity system, named Passport.

Liberty’s architecture calls for a variety of identity providers from whom consumers could choose, depending on personal needs and proclivities. Their intent is to create a market for online identity, just there is a market today for Web services (like online auction houses, stores, games, specialized information services, and newspapers). It is conceivable that the public interest sector could collaborate with one or several identity providers to develop digital profiles that reflect the needs of civil society, and not only those of business.

The not-for-profit initiative has completed the first iteration of a civil society approach to building identity into the Internet’s architecture. This work show great promise. In 2002, worked with members of the standards body OASIS [6] to form a technical committee so they could agree on, discuss, and publish a standard for persistent identity and related data exchange. A specification for the persistent identity standard was published in 2002, and is now making its way through the OASIS approval system. A related specification for data-exchange, using the Security Assertion Markup Language, or SAML, is being developed following the same procedures, with an eye toward ultimate ratification by OASIS.

Underlying this report is the assumption that every individual ought to have the right to control his or her own online identity. You should be able to decide what information about yourself is collected as part of your digital profile, and of that information, who has access to different aspects of it. Certainly, you should be able to read the complete contents of your own digital profile at any time. An online identity should be maintained as a capability that gives the user many forms of control. Without flexible access and control, trust in the system of federated network identity will be minimal.



As Liberty Alliance and Passport documentation suggest, most of their resources will go toward the capture and distribution of information about you that relates to your behavior as a consumer. They give little regard to information that could enhance your behavior as a citizen.

Once digital profiles include expressed affinities, the potential for networking through the Internet around common interests becomes significant, because it is a simple technical matter to connect individuals to others based on their shared affinity with a third party.

The wheels are already in motion to digitize some of the most sensitive personal information imaginable — including your finances, work history, and health care records. . . . Certainly, everyone needs to maintain a vigilance regarding the security of their personal data. This will be one of the touchstone civil rights issues of the digital era — who gets to know what about you, and how is it protected . . . The greatest danger to civil society is not that the data associated with digital profiles is open to theft and illegal activity, but rather the real possibility that a system of federated network identity that erodes civil liberties and the public commons comes into being — while following the letter of the law.

The ASN should be embraced by existing online communities, because its intent is not to replace them, but rather to offer additional functionality that enhances their value. Just as commercial content sites came to appreciate the additional traffic that targeted links to "competitors" brought them, online communities will be glad to see the added traffic that comes with tactical interconnection between social networks . . . Most importantly, the ASN will not "break down the walls" between online social networks to create a single, global online community. Rather, the ASN calls for strategically placed doors that allow people and information to pass from one distinct online social network to another under certain, limited circumstances.

Persistent identity will enable people to present a consistent set of personal data as they go from one Web site to another. The technical infrastructures of online communities may well adapt to the emerging environment, and add functionality that can leverage persistent identity data into new services. For instance, once this new functionality is in place, after you review a Grateful Dead album on, you may find yourself greeted with a link to a Grateful Dead discussion page when you enter AOL.



Given the current state of software development and the way new functionality is now being added to the Internet, the interoperability likely to emerge between communities — if it comes about at all — will be limited, and driven by commerce.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with commerce-driven interoperability between communities. But a great opportunity to strengthen the public commons could be lost without a deliberate effort to develop community interoperability for non-commercial purposes.

We believe it to be of the utmost importance that ASN interoperability protocols give individuals the broadest possible range of options regarding how they represent themselves in online environments.

In the preparation of this paper, while looking for potential partners in the development of the ASN, we identified 11 community-ware efforts that provide well-considered suites of tools to support communities of practice. We deliberately did not include the efforts of the software Goliaths, like IBM or Microsoft. Rather, these efforts are being spearheaded by smaller, independent companies, in some cases by not-for-profits. Several of them have a strong commitment to serving the public interest. They are:

  • Real Communities/Mongoose
  • Communispace
  • Community Zero
  • Tomoye
  • Plumtree
  • Living Directory
  • Friendster
  • Plaxo
  • Spoke
  • LinkedIn
  • Ryze



Bringing ASN activity to online community infrastructures will require additional applications beyond those online community systems provide today. New applications that enable enhanced search features, as well as the pre-processing and post-processing of e-mail communications, need to be available to users of the ASN in order for the system to work. These applications would be developed as free-standing modules that can be "plugged-in" to existing online community infrastructures. They will need to allow ASN users to identify their messages properly when they are written, address messages in the appropriate manner (so that they are sorted and distributed by the ASN system), and send and receive messages in a way that distinguishes them from other e-mail (so they are recognized as ASN messages when they arrive in an "in box").

Among the functionality that these applications would provide are the following:

  • ASN Search Interface. Users of the ASN need to be able to access its distributed database of affinity and compatibility profiles through their online community tools. An ASN search feature is essential, in order for users to find others with whom they share affinities or have complementary capabilities.
  • ASN Composition and Addressing. When creating an ASN message, users will need to designate the message as an "introduction," "forwarded media," or an "ad hoc social network." Properly designated and addressed, the message can be sorted by the ASN system, and sent to the appropriate recipients.
  • Tag Incoming ASN Messages. When ASN messages appear in an "in box," they should be tagged in a manner that distinguishes them from other e-mail.
  • Filter Incoming ASN Messages. When an incoming ASN message arrives, it should be checked to make sure that it has a header that identifies its subject as a relevant affinity, and that it indeed came through a trusted third party. A filtering mechanism is necessary to eliminate spam within the system.

The "next generation" of online communities now being developed have begun to add elements from the list above to their infrastructures. But by no means has a standard community "tool kit" to support matching technologies emerged. Moreover, little attention has been paid to how the knowledge created inside each "walled castle" community could be exchanged with those outside its walls. The exponential benefits of connectivity (remember the discussion of Reed’s Law) will be realized when the matching technologies allow focused interconnectivity between community groups. One of the purposes of the ASN is to make this kind of interoperability commonplace on the Internet — and to raise the bar of expectations for what online communities serving the public interest ought to deliver.



The essential activity of the ASN is that it brokers introductions between people across social networks, based on expressed affinities and capabilities, through trusted third parties. In order for those introductions to take place, there have to be rules that guide when introductions can be made and how they are facilitated.

Clearly the ASN needs to provide a range of introduction options, so users can choose what is right for them. These options, and the rules they would follow, would be determined by a set of "introduction protocols" — explicit instructions about the sequence of actions that would automatically take place before an introduction is facilitated through a trusted third party.

What would this protocol do? It instructs an automated agent (or "broker-bot") to follow a sequence of actions that would lead to relevant introductions. It tells the broker-bot to read the "affinity reference" in a user’s digital profile, and then match those expressed affinities or capabilities to others with complementary interests, based on links through trusted third parties. The broker-bot would be instructed to use ontological frameworks as a guide to determine meaningful matches. At the end of this sequence, the broker-bot would send a specially tagged ASN Introduction e-mail to the match that it found, without copying the person who made the original request. That "discovered match" can then decide whether to reply to the introduction, or not. If the "discovered match" does not reply, the person who made the initial inquiry would never know, and so would not feel slighted by the rejection.

These customized introduction services, among many others, would be offered by independent brokers, which would mix and match protocols, shaping them to meet the needs of their constituents. Brokering services could either be for-profit companies, or not-for-profit civil society initiatives. A brokering service could be hosted on a single destination Web site (like, where you go to their online "front door" to use their services), or it might syndicate its services on many other sites (like’s Affiliates program, which allows a multitude of Web sites to create their own e-bookstores by linking into Amazon’s backend). Our interest is in allowing for the widest possible variety of these services to take shape — which means that the basic introduction protocol has to be written to facilitate this wide range of customization while maintaining interoperability.



Suffice it to say that the ASN is unlikely to become an industry priority. It does not offer immediate avenues to profitability.

The ASN could be achieved in an incremental manner, with software and protocols developed among a relatively small group of participants, and gradually adopted by larger online community systems as they see fit. The development of the software and standards would best take place as part of pilot projects that introduce ASN functionality to a small group of online communities that can participate in working kinks out of the system, preparing it for a broader launch. These online communities could be either not-for-profit initiatives or for-profit companies, or a combination of the two.

But once the ASN is in place, it offers a range of opportunity for companies that could generate revenue by providing features of the overall system. These include:

  • Community sites that have incorporated ASN functionality;
  • Personal identity companies that offer identity services that cater to specific communities;
  • Boutique brokering services that charge for specialized introductions; and;
  • Specialized search services that use customized ontological frameworks.


The intent of the ASN is to increase interconnectivity between people by enabling them to more easily find and share relevant relationships and information. Clearly, engendering trust in the system is critical to its success. To that end, it is necessary for the implementation of the ASN to be guided by principles that support such an environment of trust. These principles include:

  • Open Standards. For this system to be broadly adopted, it must be transparent so that all of the entities that participate in it are reasonably assured of its trustworthiness. This means that the software code that enables the system should be non-proprietary and freely available, and that the process by which the software is written and the standards enacted should be open to the highest levels of scrutiny.
  • Interoperability. Our vision is of an Internet with more bridges and fewer walls, where the individual can travel easily between communities. To enact this vision, online communities need to consider ways of being open to one another. Interoperability between diverse environments and ontological frameworks is central to this effort.
  • Inclusivity. For the system to successfully draw in the largest possible number of participants, and to enable free connection between potential correspondents, it must be designed to embrace every online community that agrees to its standards and principles. In this regard, the ASN must be value-neutral, open, and inclusive, not unlike the open connectivity of the underlying Internet protocols.
  • Respect for Privacy. The ASN should be a galvanizing force for the strengthening of privacy protections online, in support of a thriving civil society. Every person online must be certain that private information remains private, and that neither governments nor commercial interests will use this information in any way without the individual’s knowledge and expressed permission.
  • Decentralization. The Internet works best when systems are not commanded from the top down, but rather emerge from the bottom up — and are then adopted on a voluntary basis, in a manner that best suits the specific needs of the distinct communities that together comprise the Net’s totality. We are in favor of an "opt-in" system, rather than one commanded by a government or commercial authority. For that reason, our approach is to develop software and standards that can be added to existing community operating systems in a modular fashion — so they do not have to rewrite their software from scratch, but rather can "plug-in" these modules to their existing infrastructures. Similarly, the ASN would support decentralized structures for the maintenance of persistent identity and ontological frameworks.



In the near term, there are a number of practical steps that should be taken to bring the ASN into being. While some of this work could be pursued as for-profit/not-for-profit hybrids, our inclination is to support this work strictly through grants, and to make the fruits of these efforts (the software and protocols they lead to) freely available to the public through GPL (and other similar) licenses. These steps include:

  • Establishing an ASN coordinating body.
  • Convening a board of technical advisors.
  • Providing a dedicated engineer to represent the public interest at standards bodies working on persistent identity.
  • Co-develop basic ASN functionality with select online community companies.
  • A dedicated team would coordinate implementation of matching technologies for the public interest sector. The ASN effort should act as a catalyst to bring attention and support to the development of ontologies and taxonomies for the public interest sector. A pilot project to begin this work should be initiated in collaboration with one or more NGOs.


About the Authors

Ken Jordan is one of the pioneers of Web-based multimedia. In 1995 he led the development and served as founding editorial director of, the first multimedia music zine. SonicNet was named best Web site of 1995 by Entertainment Weekly and won the first Webby award for music site before becoming a property of MTV. In 1996 Mr. Jordan became creative director of Icon New Media, publisher of two seminal, award-winning online magazines: the general interest zine, and the action sports site In 1999, he co-founded the public interest portal, in partnership with Globalvision and the international civil society network; it was OneWorld’s first U.S. based project. He is currently a writer and digital media consultant based in New York, and Director of the Art and Culture Network.

Ken is co-editor of Multimedia: From Wagner to Virtual Reality (New York: W.W. Norton, 2001), an anthology of seminal articles that trace the "secret" history of digital multimedia; the book is widely taught at colleges and universities around the world. Outside the digital realm, he collaborated with the playwright and director Richard Foreman on the book Unbalancing Acts: Foundations for a Theater (New York: Pantheon, 1992). Web: / email:


Jan Hauser ( is currently a Business Development Manager at Science Application International Corporation (SAIC) and is also a visiting professor at the Naval Postgraduate School, in Monterey California. At SAIC Jan focuses on business development of SAIC’s Latent Symantec Indexing Product (LSI). This product is capable of discovering and matching "concepts" which it discovers in unstructured text. LSI functions independent of what native language these concepts are expressed in and also works independent of the various terminologies used by individuals to express their concepts.

Jan was formerly principal architect at Sun Microsystems where he was responsible for Sun’s membership in the Santa Fe Institute (SFI). Jan has been a catalyst for the application of Complexity Science to business, social, and environmental problems. In this pursuit he co-organized a workshop with the Institute For The Future (IFTF) — Growing At the Edge: The New Corporate Structures for Innovation and the Challenge of Governance.

Jan has worked on the development of Sun’s architecture for automated markets, Electronic Trade Exchanges, and principals that lead to the emergence of "communities" of trading partners. He currently spends much of his personal time working on problems of "Global Sustainability."

Jan has also worked with Dee Hock, founder of VISA International, in the development of new organizational models and implementations of so called "Chaordic," or self-organizing institutional forms, which were included in Sun’s Jini community, design. This work led Jan to focus his energies on promoting the development and adoption of technologies that would support the emergence of "Chaord Light," a means of exploiting the internet in catalyzing latent "Social Networks" based on shared or complementary interests and capabilities combined with the transitive nature of trust amongst people who know each other indirectly through our "six degrees" of our personal knowledge and connectivity. He can be reached through his Web site at


Steven Foster was a pioneer in Internet resource discovery. His Veronica project, the first comprehensive Internet search engine, was the paradigmatic resource harvester which established many precedents for succeeding search engines. Veronica was the most active service on the Internet in 1994 and was awarded the American Library Association’s award for "most valuable research tool."

Steven has worked in development of software for taxonomic crosswalks and presently is focused on creating concept-based matching technologies for interpersonal brokering.

Steven also has a long term interest in problems of "global sustainability" and was an initiator of the first Planetwork conference.


This post is Appendix 2 of Kaliya's NSTIC Governance NOI Response - please see this page for the overview and links to the rest of the posts. Here is a link to the PDF.

This is the section before: Planetwork Link Tank

This is the section after: People Diversity