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Re: "Identity"

From: Timothy Holborn <timothy.holborn@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 01 Jun 2017 09:00:58 +0000
Message-ID: <CAM1Sok2C8B7xMdT46DTYjYvt1FLkHpSRC_QLGoUs6=9rgsC6Mg@mail.gmail.com>
To: Henry Story <henry.story@bblfish.net>, Joe Andrieu <joe@joeandrieu.com>
Cc: Credentials Community Group <public-credentials@w3.org>
I've always liked henry and his works on WebID whilst also seeing various
views of failure along the way.

thereafter; i started working on what was then, part of the Web Payments

I believe Henry to be an incredible contributor.  Yet i disagree about the
relationship between the WebID-TLS Cert; and the person.

IMHO the WebID-TLS Cert very neatly defines the machine or machine-account
in a reliable way (unsupported by browsers).

Moreover; i do not think people have taken on in a sufficiently serious
manner (for whatever reason) the issue of 'cyberia identity' frameworks as
to preserve, protect and support - the opportunity for self-determination
and a world ruled by truths rather than the integration of exploitative


On Thu, 1 Jun 2017 at 18:49 Henry Story <henry.story@bblfish.net> wrote:

> What about just moving to logic, and using terms defined there.
> There are actually a number of them:
>   - sense/reference
>   - definite description
>   - reference de re/de dicto
> These have now very well established formalizations.
> One could then start by distinguishing direct and indirect identifiers,
> i.e. identifiers that refer to the entity via a definite description such
> as the WebID one defined here
> https://www.w3.org/2005/Incubator/webid/spec/identity/
> or an indirect identifier such as the pubic keys. A Public Key is a direct
> identifier of
> course of a public key, but an indirect identifier of a person, via a
> relation such
> as cert:key for which there is an image here:
> https://www.w3.org/2005/Incubator/webid/spec/tls/#the-webid-profile-document
> That image shows how a public key is tied directly to a global name (The
> WebID URL in this case),
> but it need not.
> These concepts of definite description, sense and reference are applicable
> to all objects,
> so at that level there can not really be any controversy particular to
> identifying agents,
> rather than numbers, trees, or concepts.
> As one does this one sees that there are any number of ways of creating
> definite descriptions
> to identify an object, and that any object can have any number of names.
> My guess is that a lot of the tension is coming from the notion of there
> being one true identity,
> whatever that means, whereas it is just a relation of a name to a thing.
> Henry
> On 30 May 2017, at 19:40, Joe Andrieu <joe@joeandrieu.com> wrote:
> I started this note to send to Manu in particular, but realized it would
> be useful to share with the larger community. I chose not to cc the
> workgroup because cross-posting rarely leads to coherent conversations.
> Hopefully the community group is the right audience.
> This is a personal request.
> I appreciate the rathole we are trying to avoid by separating "Identity"
> with a capital "I" from technical conversations. I get it. A big part of my
> own contribution to the user-centric identity conversation and at RWoT is
> to shift how we talk about "Identity" because we usually do it so poorly.
> The fact is, "identity" is the sexy hot button that leads the introduction
> and context at workshops like IIW and ID2020 and with topics like
> self-sovereign identity and SDG 16.9. In other words, "Identity" is exactly
> what so many conversations need to be about, especially so people like
> regulators, CEOs, bankers, and ambassadors can make better decisions about
> how identity is managed--whether online or off.
> That's why I'm trying to fix how we talk about it. Because we can't have
> the disabling ratholes suck up attention and inflame unnecessary passions.
> We got a lovely rant by Frederic Engel in the RWoT session I led on
> "functional identity". It was great. The French accent and his passion and
> the whole gestalt was truly endearing and compelling. It was perhaps the
> most appropriate response to my attempt to limit exactly those types of
> rants. The irony was not lost on me. Instead, it taught me that there is
> still a lot of work to do to somehow both avoid the distraction while
> assimilating the passion and perspective.
> Unfortunately, establishing "Identity" as something we can't talk about
> undermines the effort to shift that conversation. It's the Overton window.
> When we make Identity off-topic for conversation, we can't fix how we talk
> about it. When we dismiss "Identity" as a viable element of conversation,
> we deny an entire region of relevant discussion. I am betting that it isn't
> the actuality of identity that frustrates us, it is the rathole those
> conversations can become.
> I argue the best way to avoid the rathole is to find the right way to talk
> about it. The right context. The right definitions. The right boundaries of
> scope.  Especially because whether we embrace it or fight it, verifiable
> claims are going to be used for identity. I'd like to face that head on
> rather than pretend it isn't going to happen.
> One thing that became clearer in the community call today is the
> motivation to avoid W3C hot buttons. Ok. I get that. It actually makes my
> point. When an organization like W3C is unable to have meaningful
> conversations about Identity, it is even more vital that we shift how those
> conversations unfold. I support minimizing "Identity" as a term where it
> doesn't clarify. There's a lot of that in the current docs. But I don't see
> wholesale exorcism as the right way to move the conversation forward either.
> In fact, I see *this* email as an important part of the conversation. We
> need to find a way to talk about Identity without the ratholes, rather than
> shut down all conversation about identity.
> 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.
> 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.
> Thanks,
> -j
> --
> Joe Andrieu, PMP
> joe@joeandrieu.com
> +1(805)705-8651 <+1%20805-705-8651>
> http://blog.joeandrieu.com
Received on Thursday, 1 June 2017 09:01:47 UTC

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