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Re: Control & Identity [was Re: Teaching a 7 year old about decentalized identity/self-soverign identity ("SSI")]

From: Adrian Gropper <agropper@healthurl.com>
Date: Thu, 15 Nov 2018 14:11:17 -0500
Message-ID: <CANYRo8gfO+_iFo45it2h_dL4UWjbTHJ6P-XBuKFmyWeiTOc4aA@mail.gmail.com>
To: Joe Andrieu <joe@legreq.com>
Cc: W3C Credentials Community Group <public-credentials@w3.org>, Doc Searls <Doc@searls.com>, Joyce Searls <joyce@searls.com>
Well said, Joe. I see SSI as agency, rather than control. Agency is mutual,
in the sense that others have to accept and respect my agent. When my agent
is a technology, like SSI or an UMA authorization server then, to the
extent it's accepted by others, my identity gains some power over all three
of Kaliya's triad.

Whether or not others accept my agent is simply a matter of cost and
respect. Standards reduce the cost barrier. Respect is for me to judge in
who I befriend or work with.


On Thu, Nov 15, 2018 at 2:00 PM Joe Andrieu <joe@legreq.com> wrote:

> On Wed, Nov 14, 2018, at 11:09 AM, Steven Rowat wrote:
> On 2018-11-14 9:56 AM, Daniel Hardman wrote:
>  "SSI: An identity model that allows an individual or organization
> to control their identities, or the identity of a thing, expressed
> through the use of decentralized identifiers and digital credentials."
> A comment is that 'control' might imply more than can be delivered for
> 'identity'; to the   degree that identity consists in what other
> people think of us and we can't control that part. I also find the
> 'expressed' slightly confusing (about what is expressed -- the model,
> the identity, or the thing) and the statement seems to works fine
> without it. So perhaps:
> Yes. "Control" is an improvement over ownership, but it still misses the
> mark in a way I haven't yet figured out how to address.
> Identity is a social construct. As Kaliya Young so elegantly presented at
> MyData (and in her Master Thesis), identity is a triad:
> 1. How I see myself
> 2. How I present myself to others
> 3. How others see me
> This is a mutually reinforcing circle. How I see myself influences how I
> present myself to others. How we present ourselves affects how others see
> us. How others see us affects how we see ourselves.
> We can mostly control how we affirmatively present to others--which is
> essentially how selective presentation of Verifiable Credentials tied to
> our own DIDs helps create a decentralized identity. However, this control
> is itself limited in extent. Consider anyone who has tried to pass as a
> different race or class, or transitioned from one gender to another. Our
> physicality, our economic circumstance, even how we talk, all are areas of
> our presentation over which we have only modest control.
> Most importantly, we can't *control* how others see us. We can't control
> others' biases and judgments. We can't control what other information they
> bring to the table. Unfortunately, there's not even a way to control what
> they do with any information presented to them. We try with regulations
> like GDPR and user asserted terms of service, but those are policies that
> establish guidance subject to later enforcement; they don't actually
> control the spread & use of information as much as enable punishment for
> unacceptable distribution & use.
> On a more subtle note, we even have limited control over how we see
> ourselves. It's hard to change your own self-perception. It's possible, but
> also a core subject of the multi-billion self-help industry.
> I noticed this limitation on control is a lot like how relationships work.
> We don't *control* our relationships with others. For some we have no
> choice in, e.g., parents / children, others are a mutually negotiated
> opt-in: girlfriends, employers, teachers.  I can't *make* someone be my
> boss, but I get to accept or reject a job offer, and I can always terminate
> the relationship. But I can't force it to continue if I get fired. We
> influence relationships. We can engender, nurture, or destroy
> relationships, but we don't control them.
> Controlling our identity is similar. We don't control our identity in
> terms of how other people see us. We influence it. And, given the asymmetry
> in information systems, I'm happy to argue that it is right and just and
> meet that people have greater influence over our identity than is currently
> enabled in our digital world. That is, yes, we need more control, but at
> the end of the day, we can never control it completely. Advocating for
> "control" without all the caveats I just described makes it sound like SSI
> is an unreasonable toddler demanding "Mine! Mine!". Certainly, this notion
> of individual control is a big stumbling block to people's perceptions of
> SSI.
> I'm not sure the concise way to reframe the basic definition, but I
> appreciate the distinction Steven Rowat made here. Control is still tricky,
> even if its a notable improvement over "own".
> That said, maybe it's a fine idea for the movement & ideology of SSI to
> advocate for individual empowerment and greater control, allowing the term
> decentralized identity to be more broadly used, independent of the
> political conversation.
> -j
> --
> Joe Andrieu, PMP
>                    joe@legreq.com
>    +1(805)705-8651
> Do what matters.
>                  http://legreq.com <http://www.legendaryrequirements.com>


Adrian Gropper MD

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Received on Thursday, 15 November 2018 19:11:55 UTC

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