This post is an exploration of the question: In today’s day and age, what does it really mean to have full control of your identity online?

  • It means that you have full portability. You can take your identity from one service to another - without having to re-enter the same information again. Importantly, when you leave a service, you know there are no digital footprints left over.
  • It means that the value of your identity isn’t opaque to you. Essentially, you have the ability to participate in the value chain that starts with your data.
  • It means you have full control to how that identity is used - whether it is used to train a model, or to deliver a specific product experience - you have the ability to opt-out of participating. Control also means you have the ability to define the privacy model for your identity that you are comfortable with, rather than ceding that control to a third party. Coincidentally, I read a blog post by Albert Wenger that argues that we should move towards a post-privacy attitude, where privacy isn’t important at all.

This is clearly one of the issues that we have to resolve as the internet makes it’s way into our social fabric in so many ways.