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

Monday, January 28, 2013

"An Englishman's Data is his Chattel"


"An Englishman's Data is his Chattel" :- We seem to have forgotten this important point, which is often mistaken for a lesser statement about homes and castles!

I believe that it is down to the lawmakers of England to reinstate this key right, not just for us Brits, but the whole world. In fact we need an addition to the UN Declaration of Human Rights. A declaration of Digital Rights.

e-Trust can only come from a base of clear data ownership, "big data" is confounding this key legal concept. There are whole businesses being founded on the idea that acquiring my data, using it and selling it on without my express permission is legitimate.

Yesterday I received an email offering me 1.6 Million email addresses for $450
I was affronted as they were clearly likely to be selling one of my email addresses gained by theft or fraud. The particular email it was sent to was one of my many ghost email addresses "twitterdeck @ s-mail.me.uk" one that I never use and only gave out to one supplier. Late last year ALL my ghost emails where "acquired/stolen" from somewhere in one go. I could only assume my ISP 1and1, either sold them onto someone, or they were stolen from the 1and1 servers. I never did discover which.

My data is My Data!  Whether it is my current weight measured by my wifi weighing machine, the amount of wine in my house, or my home address. We need to stop the theft and misuse of personal data before the great british public gets used to the idea that they do NOT own their own data.

I feel very strongly that we have allowed whole business models to be formed on the premise that Personal Data Theft and Misuse is OK. It is NOT OK!

Who, but the Brits can get this back under control? (Actually the Brits alone can't but at least we can start a movement!!)

Finally as a reminder, it is not about Privacy, it is about AGENCY!

Agency, or being in control, is what gives rise to the privacy outcome not the other way round.

The good news is that those that have "acquired" our data by fair means or foul are starting to understand that there is a growing demand for cyber agency. Take a look at the data controls in the latest Apple IO6. The growing power of the screams that occur each time Facebook opens our metaphorical privacy curtains also shows that the public is starting to get the need to be in control.

I wrote this Blog a while ago and felt it was missing something, now having read +Michael Koster's post  on User Agency and IoT, I finally realised what it was.... the importance of both Affordance and the "Things" and the sheer impossibility of accomplishing control in this new world without a great deal of help from Content Curation Agents as well Thing Management Agents that operate on our behalf.

I need mine now, before it is too late!!! And no I do not mean Application by Application I mean an integrated Content Curation Agent that will fight "Data Entropy" while extracting the maximum value from our data, and set of Thing Agents, likely to operate in a heirarchy under the Content Curation Agent.  See earlier post....