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

From: Daniel Hardman <daniel.hardman@evernym.com>
Date: Thu, 15 Nov 2018 13:10:07 -0700
Message-ID: <CAFBYrUra=ygUe8JxqW6Vxt958fPoaHUXv_uyjHKZQ5r5C7pdqw@mail.gmail.com>
To: joe@legreq.com
Cc: Credentials Community Group <public-credentials@w3.org>
I wholeheartedly agree with Steven, Joe, and Adrian that "control" is
problematic in exactly the ways pointed out. This was one of the words that
I had in mind when I said that the definition suppresses certain details
and is a simplification. Simplfications can be helpful for certain
audiences, and very unhelpful for others.

I wonder if we need to publish somewhare a "peeling back layers of the
onion" discussion of SSI (or one that starts at 10K meters, then 100
meters, then 1 meter, then 10 millimeters)--successively exploring how
suppressed detail at the higher level needs to be added back in?

On Thu, Nov 15, 2018 at 12:01 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
> LEGENDARY REQUIREMENTS
>    +1(805)705-8651
> Do what matters.
>                  http://legreq.com <http://www.legendaryrequirements.com>
>
>
>
Received on Thursday, 15 November 2018 20:10:41 UTC

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