Sunday, February 27, 2011

I was in a EURIM meeting last week discussing the importance of establishing an Identity Governance Framework that would help set the direction of regulations and other key components that would enable the development of an e-Identity Infrastructure. All those present believed in the importance and value of such an Infrastructure, there was whoever one aspect that did not seem to have universal agreement.

Basically it came down to the need for a Universal Identifier that would be owned by Governments.

In this case we were talking primarily of the identity of Citizens. I responded very clumsily to what seemed to be a proposal to tie such an Identifier to the Identity used for voting, it turned out to have been tied through the Registration process, my visceral reaction remained. I mumbled my concern without clarity.

Today I was in reminded of the Lord of the Rings and its relationship to this problem. I declare myself to be a Hobbit who sees the creation of the Rings (of Identity?) as something to be feared, especially the One Ring, the one that binds all the others together.

The forces that would have us believe that a Universal Identifier should be created by governments in order to protect us from thieves and terrorists, are not being fully transparent with the potential negative impacts, partly because the law of unintended consequences is so relevant in this space, but also they don't want to declare their own intents.

Let's remember what was inscribed inside the "One Ring"

One Ring to rule them all,
One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all,
And in the darkness bind them.''

A chilling reminder, for those that understand the message that Tolkien was sharing with us.

Basically it is a question of Primacy, who owns the Identity of an Individual?
Some would say the State, I would say the mature and sane Individual
I was sure this right would be enshrined in "The Universal Declaration of Human Rights" but despite reading and re-reading the articles I found no clear declaration, while Articles Three and Six touch on the concept. The right to own ones Identity is not explicitly stated.

The first Jericho Forum Identity Principle (under development) addresses this topic it currently reads:
PRIMACY: Invisible Root Identity – The privacy and integrity of a core “Identity” is ALWAYS safeA Root Identity must be uniquely and permanently connected with an Entity/Principal and must NEVER need to be disclosed.

Rewritten as a new Article 31 of the The Universal Declaration of Independence it would read:
Everyone has the right of primacy over their Identity, no State, group or person may usurp that right.