Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Is the Identity Iceberg Toppling?

Posit 1: The future includes a time when entities own their own Identity.
Posit 2: In that future the focus on Privacy expands to the more important concept of Agency

River's regularly change course, without the landscape fundamentally changing. However, the landscape on the Identity Iceberg given it does topple would change dramatically. The challenge seems to be that intellectually even some of the identity 2.0 protagonists are looking at the opportunity apparently assuming that the landscape is not going to radically change. Perhaps they believe that the forces at work aiming to strengthen and maintain the new status quo. This would result in the Amazons, Googles and the Facebooks (AGFs) succeeding in owning our personal data. While it is clear that individual enterprises should give up now on the idea that they can each own our individual identities, for they are rapidly being marginalised by the AGFs, with Linked-In, and more recently Salesforce making a late attempt to join the Entity Identity grab. Linked-In and Salesforce entry into the space further counter the forces that could topple the Iceberg. Unless of course any of these switch to becoming a true Identity Service provider with the Individual and their devices as their main users, and enterprises as the Payors.

I first realised the possibilities behind a dramatic shift in the Identity landscape, when sitting behind a one way mirror listening to a diabetologist responding to questions about Identity on the Internet with the immortal phrase: "I need another Identity from a pharmaceutical company, like I need a hole in the head!" In the pharma sector this tension was resolved with DocCheck, an organisation that had pharma companies pay to know that a doctor was actually a doctor. This need was triggered by a German Law that required pharma companies to ensure that only doctors could access their medical websites. This is an Identity Service model that took a step towards the future world by giving doctors the opportunity of controlling an Identity that would be trusted (and paid for) by multiple pharmaceutical companies. Thus DocCheck started extending the monetisation of Attribute claims, from the "You will get paid" claim, which was already in place with Credit Cards.

Even the UK Governments innovative Midata program is seemingly just looking at giving individuals "access" to their data which has been collected by others. 

There are clearly folks looking at things from an entity centric perspective. At present I am not betting either way, though I am clear which way I do want it to go. I want to benefit from the value in my information / attributes either from services I value, but occasionally from a monetary sense.

The most important aspect I want from this world is that desire to be in control of how my information / attributes are used, in short I want to have Agency. (Actually I want Agents that will do that for me... but that's another blog....)
Agency defined as "the capacity, condition, or state of acting or of exerting power."

Given that there is a tectonic shift in play, enterprises have a number of options.
1) Try and maintain the status quo (which would be like trying to super glue the San Andreas fault)
2) Give up and let the new Identity players take control of their clients Identities and Attributes 
3) Be part of a movement that ensures individuals have Cyber Agency, help create a Cyber Trust Ecosystem that will enable individuals organisations access to their Identities and Attributes

Readers who also engage with my LEF persona will know that Consumerisation has been a interest of mine for years. Indeed Doug and I created the original topic on Wikipedia.  Chris Weisinger of CSC identified that this shift towards Cyber Agency, involves Consumerisation.  I had previously toyed with the concept of Identity being consumerized, but he spotted that actually we are talking about the "Consumerisation of Power". A Blog topic in itself that also alludes to Doc Searles Intention Economy

I will be coming back to tighten up this Blog but I want to put it out there...
Apologies for the weak grammar and poor structure and flow.

Some relevant Links

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