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Solove and Shainberg on the risks of our digital Identities

J. Solove or Gary Shainberg claim that the visibility, reputation and privacy on the Internet become key issues to the effective management of digital identity. The ability to manage a virtual identity is not instrumental, but is related to the learning  and immersion in digital culture; required for the citizen who lives in the network society.

There are many definitions of what Digital Identity is. Specifically, Wikipedia states that Digital identity is the aspect of digital technology that is concerned with the mediation of people’s experience of their own identity and the identity of other people and things. Digital identity also has another common usage as the digital representation of a set of claims made by one digital subject about itself or another digital subject.

Marta Serrat-Brustenga and Aina Giones-Valls, which are responsables of library of the Public University in Cataluña (UPC), explain that since the last decades of the century there has been a global technological revolution that has given rise to an information society, defined by the generation, management and use of data. The current revolution revolves around the technologies of information processing and communication, which increasingly are used in most areas of our lives. With the explosion of the Internet and especially the so-called Web 2.0, the amount of personal data in the network is very high and helps to create new personal identities in the digital environment, they may not coincide with the identity of an offline person, but characteristics can be attributed that person. The emergence of the Internet has offered a wide range of new tools for content creation and communication changing the conditions of traditional of identity management.

Although having a virtual identity usually provides good things, sometimes we can also find some main risks such as social exclusion, robbery, and having a bad reputation:

Regarding to the first mentioned term or risk,  Aina Giones-Valls claims that In a heavily computerized society, one of the dangers is the difference between those with access to new technologies and those without, and the gulf between those who know how to useand which not. These become the new sector at risk of social exclusion, a phenomenon called digital divide.

Secondly, we can speak of a Digital identity theft when an attacker gains access to various services (email, financial accounts, blog, website, etc..) and takes control of them not letting  its rightful owner recover them.

Finally, Having a Bad Reputation, becomes usually a main risk of having a digital identity. Daniel J. Solove, Professor of Law at the George Washington University Law School and Senior Policy Advisor at Hogan Lovells, defines reputation as a key component of our identity that reflects who we are and defines how we interact with others. The reputation falls on the perception that other people have of a subject.

If you have a bad reputation, forget about your personal or laboral objectives” Daniel J. Solove at “The future of Reputation”
Across the following lines, I’ll show you some expert voices that provide us very useful information:
  • Gary Shainberg, Vice President of Global Technology & Innovation Support in BT’s Group Technology Office, explains in the following video some interesting information about  Digital Identity:

Daniel Monastersky, Expert Lawyer in Computer Security, Secretary of the American Institute of Research for the Information Society, and Ejecutive producer in many tv programmes, gives us some advice related with technology information:

Prevention, education, training and above all common sense is what we need

  • Ezequiel Sallis, director of the “SecureRoot” company:

Social networks, blogs, fotolog, chats… once you put something on the internet, this is not easy to remove and Anybody can see it: friends, family, or someone who is interested in stealing your iidentity”

References:
  •  Aina Giones Valls,  Marta  Serrat i Brustenga (2010). «La gestión de la identidad digital : una nueva habilidad informacional y digital». BiD: textos universitaris de biblioteconomia i documentació, juny, núm. 24. <http://www.ub.edu/bid/24/giones2.htm> [Retrieved: 11-12-2011].
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