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Re: "Identity"

From: David Chadwick <D.W.Chadwick@kent.ac.uk>
Date: Thu, 1 Jun 2017 07:20:22 +0100
To: public-credentials@w3.org
Message-ID: <bb088ba1-2a0d-7a75-53bc-ee62dfff0276@kent.ac.uk>

On 01/06/2017 02:01, Manu Sporny wrote:


> Let's fast forward to a point where this community has properly defined
> "identity" in a coherent way. Here are the problems that we will still face:
> 1. Some other community has defined it in some other way that makes
> sense to them and they are unwilling to change the definition... and
> we're back to not having a unified definition.

So why don't we use an ISO standard definition? At least we can say that
we are not inventing our own definition and are using an internationally
recognised one.


> 2. Those that do not want this work to succeed due to self interest will
> twist the mere fact that we are "working on identity" to demonize the work.
> It's #2 above that concerns me the most because it was exactly that
> mechanism that was used to delay the work for a year.
> We don't need to define or make "identity" prominent to build a
> technology that will be useful for meeting many "identity use cases".
>> I don't see wholesale exorcism as the right way to move the 
>> conversation forward either.
> Agreed.
>> So, my request is to please work with me to find a way to avoid the 
>> rathole without demonizing the term itself, for example, by putting 
>> it in "quotes" and adding caveats every time it is used.
> Good proposal... now propose some solid spec text where you see the
> problem unfolding. That's the best way to get this concept into the spec.
>> My current focus is on framing the conversation it terms of how 
>> identity functions rather than what it means culturally, 
>> psychologically, politically, or metaphysically. I also distinguish 
>> "Identity" and "Digital Identity", the latter being a tool to 
>> facilitate the former. That may or may not work for the groups in 
>> this conversation, but I believe it is a promising direction.
> -1 to "Digital Identity" as it feels too similar to "Identity".
> I like your "functions" approach and don't mind phrases like:
> "...to establish that the individual is above the age of 18..."
> "...to authenticate the employment status of a person..."
> "...to verify the shipping address of a customer..."
> Those are all specific statements that are a part of what many would
> consider an identity. The benefit in the statements above is that
> they're not vague and so there is little room for re-interpretation in a
> negative way.
> My primary concern with these "identity" discussions are:
> 1. Unless they help us produce specs and code, they belong in a more
>    academic forum. At best they are a distraction and at worst, they
>    prevent the technical discussions we need to have from happening.
>    We do need to talk about enough of it so that the specs stick
>    together in a coherent way.
> 2. If we /do/ define "identity" and make it a central topic of the
>    group, then it opens us up to a wide range of political attacks that
>    /will/ slow things down (as they have over the past year). I'm
>    personally not fond of having to deal with the fallout from that
>    stuff because it 1) happens behind closed doors and 2) saps energy
>    from those trying to build this stuff.
> So, +1 to not making the discussion around "identity" verboten, but
> within reason. I'm sure we'll find the right balance in time, but until
> we do, let's try to leave the controversial bits out of the spec.
> -- manu
Received on Thursday, 1 June 2017 06:20:56 UTC

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