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Re: "Identity"

From: Steven Rowat <steven_rowat@sunshine.net>
Date: Thu, 1 Jun 2017 11:08:43 -0700
To: public-credentials@w3.org
Message-ID: <e025f566-afeb-a105-4c41-ff8fb66aff28@sunshine.net>
On 2017-06-01 9:06 AM, Joe Andrieu wrote:
>   Identity is innately
> trans-system. Any given "digital identity" may not be, but our real
> world "identity" absolutely is. By its very nature. We have an identity
> completely independent of any system or authority.

Henry Story wrote, a few hours before that:
> 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.

I believe Joe and Henry are talking past each other in a fundamental 
way that might be a good example of the tar-pit that Manu likes to 
talk of.

Nonetheless, I've found Joe's statements refreshing, and I agree with 
almost all of them so far, so I'd like to take a stab at expressing 
how this 'talking past each other' is accomplished, in my view. It 
seems to me it might be an important difference.

Henry's position (in my words, using Henry's terminology):
I believe 'thing' in Henry's statement, "relation of a name to a 
thing" can be a real person, which is the most important type of 
example. So I'll discuss that case.

Therefore Henry is saying that 'Identity' is the relation of one name 
(label) to a given person. So there can be many Identities for a 
person. Each name is a new identity. Or, perhaps he'd agree there can 
be subsets of labels, correlations of several labels to one person. 
But there's no superset of 'all' names (labels) for the person, that 
we can call 'identity'.

Joe's position (in my words, using Henry's terminology)
I believe Joe is most concerned with the fact that a given thing 
(person) is unique in the world. And that any collection of labels 
that relate to that person is part of an assumed superset relating to 
them, and "Identity" is the whole superset. How much of the superset 
we see at one time varies, but it exists because the person exists.

So to Joe, "Identity" refers to the existence of a unique person, and 
any labels that refer to that person.

To Henry, "Identity" refers to the existence of a unique label, or set 
of labels relating to a person.

They seem to be focusing on different parts of the same relationship.

How might this help the current deliberations? Not sure, but:

   -- I believe that Joe's usage for "Identity" is closer to what the 
average of the 7 billion people on the planet would use, by a wide margin.

   -- I believe Joe's usage would match an attempt to integrate, 
manage, and facilitate  digital<-->non-digital flows of goods and 
people and information better than the multiple-label use of "Identity".

   --I believe Henry's usage is easier to set up in the short term, 
digitally, or within any single jurisdiction.

Received on Thursday, 1 June 2017 18:09:16 UTC

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