Seeing and hearing Dick Hardt's "600-mouse-clicks in 12 minutes" presentation is a must: it is the most formidable elevator pitch I have ever seen.
So what's Identity 2.0? Is it indeed a radically different approach to identity as its suffix suggests, or is it the same old stuff rebranded in the spirit of the current Zeitgeist?
If you ask Dick Hardt he will tell you two things:
1. Identity 2.0 is all about empowering the user. A user-centric model in which the user defines and controls his/her Identity.
2. What is Identity? Identity is "The collective aspect of the set of characteristics by which a thing is definitively recognizable or known". In this context, Hardt talks much about Personas (assertions about MY Identity), as well as about Reputation – assertions that others are making about (aspects of) who I am. An example for that would be the eBAY reputation of a seller.
I think the two points mentioned are problematic.
First is the illusion of control. The User is not in a real control of what her Identity is. The different Identity Providers – Government, Universities, Work places and so forth – provide assertions about me that I cannot control nor alter. But at least, these are Objective and factual assertions. With Reputations, though, we're entering the realm of the subjective, with assertions that might be biased, inaccurate and sometimes false. Objective or Subjective – it does not really change the fact that People are not in control of their Public Identity!Differently put, Identity 2.0 is probably about controlling the How (distribution, interaction etc.), rather than controlling the What (Who am I).
This leads me to the second problem, which relates to implicit assertions. This kind of assertions is not an explicit part of the Identity2.0 discussion. I am referring here to what can be induced from the data and the meta-data (clickstreams, gestures, attention or whatever) the user is generating inside the various service providers. My mails at Gmail, my docs at Writely, my photos at Flickr and so forth, say a lot of things about ME and are, therefore, essential components of MY Identity. If Identity 2.0 is all about giving ME the ability to control MY Identity, then Data and Meta-Data MUST be part of the design goals of Identity 2.0, for unlike Personas and Reputation – Data and Meta-Data are controllable. Unfortunately,though, I couldn't find any trace to these critical aspects of Identity in the 7 laws of Identity, nor in the 14 design goals of Identity 2.0.
Dick Hardt – See and listen – it's only 16 minutes.
See and Listen: Identity 2.0, OSCON 2005
Just Listen: Dick Hardt – Identity 2.0
Original Podlink: IT Conversations, Dick Hardt, Identity 2.0
Dick Hardt: Identity=Reputation
Dick Hardt: Identity 2.0 Design Goals
Kim Cameon: The Seven Laws of Identity
Technorati Identity 2.0, Technorati the Podlink