Sep 1999
Oct 1999
Nov 1999
Dec 1999
Jan 2000
Feb 2000
Mar 2000
Apr 2000
May 2000
Jun 2000
Jul 2000
Aug 2000
Sep 2000
Oct 2000
Nov 2000
Dec 2000
Jan 2001
Feb 2001
Mar 2001
Apr 2001
May 2001
Jun 2001
Jul 2001
Aug 2001
Sep 2001
Oct 2001
Nov 2001
Dec 2001
Jan 2002
Feb 2002
Mar 2002
Apr 2002
May 2002
Jun 2002
Jul 2002
Aug 2002
Sep 2002
Oct 2002
Nov 2002
Dec 2002
Jan 2003
Feb 2003
Mar 2003
Apr 2003
May 2003
Jun 2003
Jul 2003
Aug 2003
Sep 2003
Oct 2003
Nov 2003
Dec 2003
Jan 2004
Feb 2004
Mar 2004
Apr 2004
May 2004
Jun 2004
Jul 2004
Aug 2004
Sep 2004
Oct 2004
Nov 2004
Dec 2004
Jan 2005
Feb 2005
Mar 2005
Apr 2005
May 2005
Jun 2005
Jul 2005
Aug 2005
Sep 2005
Oct 2005
Nov 2005
Dec 2005
Jan 2006
Feb 2006
Mar 2006
Apr 2006
May 2006
Jun 2006
Jul 2006
Aug 2006
Sep 2006
Oct 2006
Nov 2006
Dec 2006
Jan 2007
Feb 2007
Mar 2007
Apr 2007
May 2007
Jun 2007
Jul 2007
Aug 2007
Sep 2007
Oct 2007
Nov 2007
Dec 2007
Jan 2008
Feb 2008
Mar 2008
Apr 2008
May 2008
Jun 2008
Jul 2008
Aug 2008
Sep 2008
Oct 2008
Nov 2008
Dec 2008
Jan 2009
Feb 2009
Mar 2009
Apr 2009
May 2009
Jun 2009
Jul 2009
Aug 2009
Sep 2009
Oct 2009
Nov 2009
Dec 2009
Jan 2010
Aug 2010
Sep 2010
Oct 2010
Nov 2010
Dec 2010
Feb 2011
Mar 2011
Apr 2011
May 2011
Sep 2011
Oct 2011
Nov 2011
Feb 2012
Mar 2012
May 2012
Apr 2023
May 2023
Jun 2023
Jul 2023
Sep 2023
Oct 2023

10/12/1999 More on identity

I feel the need to ramble more on the concept of 'created identity' which permeates the online world. I'm not sure why, but it's something that I think is very pervasive today, both in a noticeable and subtle way.

I've read a story in the newspaper where a person changed his name to a 9-digit numerical string; his social security number. He felt that in this world that we live in, his existence was defined more by that number than by his given name. It is a powerful statement, but not neccessarily relavant to interaction with today's world. A person's SSN is focal in any number of information systems as an identifier; it's how your credit card company knows you, it's how your bank identifies you, and it's probably the number on your driver's license, student ID, and on any number of other statements, paperwork, and forms. But, that's all it's used as -- an identifier. It does not correspond to anything but you. The digits within the SSN are assigned based on region of assignment, year of creation (within a range), and the rest are random in order to make the number unique. If it wasn't unique, it would not be of use to any of the insitutions which use it -- there are too many John Andersons, but only one 502-99-1846. It does not indicate your family history, social standing, race, gender, age, eye color, etc. The social security number is nothing to most of the world, except as a reference number.

The UPC symbol has been seen as an evil thing as well. An individual number is assigned to each product, which is read by a computer system, and then the price & product name is read from a database. It is the computer that pulls the data from it's sources that has the information, not that little rectangle of line-encoded digits. The social security number is the same. An unassigned SSN means nothing -- meaning is assigned to it by the association of a person with the number. Without the database of information created by you, the number is irrelevant.

The fear in a SSN is not because there's an evil number tagged on your back, but that giving an insitution that number allows them to access your individual information from other sources. People don't fear their bad credit; they fear that the credit report will give a bank enough information to reject their requests for services. The creation of an identity isn't always conscious, even online. Your actions are being tracked by any number of sources, varying on the number of insitutions that you choose to let into your life. It is voluntary. The Democracy of the US does allow for personal privacy, but it is still your responsibility to protect your own privacy. When a person signs up for a "Discount Savers Club" card with their grocery store, they are allowing the store to track their purchases. When a shopper signs up for a Sears credit card and get their 10% discount coupon, they are providing Sears with the ability to see what sells and what doesn't. Every transaction that can be attributed to "you", whether in relation to your SSN or a store-unique ID number, is a valuable asset. Without taking the initiative to sign up for that tracking number in the first place, your information is of minimal significance.

Before I start inducing fears of Big Brother and causing sleepless nights, each person needs to realize that the information comes from their own actions. If you are doing something that you do not want tracked, you shouldn't do it in a trackable manner. If you like receiving your bank statement with each transaction showing the store name & address, then expect that the information from each transaction is also doing someone else some good as well. Confidentiality only applies if you go out of your way to keep it. Talking to your doctor is confidential, going over things with your lawyer is protected from the outside, and individual employees of a bank cannot take your information for their own purposes. Who you give information to is your responsibility. With the exception of Where's George, no one is tracking your cash transactions, the video cameras at busy corners are not watching your movements (unless you're breaking a law), and the magnetic strip on the back of your credit card includes nothing more than your account number and other minor peices of information.

The majority of the time, this exchange of minor information is not significant. What you do really is your actions; the recording of these actions in a referanceable way, and if you want to hide something, then you intend on changing the true path of history as it happenned. Once in a while, the information builds up to a point where your bank takes notice that you haven't been paying your other bills while overdrafting your checking account. This information is true, but the right they have to take action based on this information is is given by you by signing up for their services. It can be seen as lying in the bed that you made, it could be seen as an unfair invasion of your privacy, and it can be interpreted as an even result of how you lead your life. Taking a look at the sticky information trail that each person creates for themselves is the first step to understanding the electronic identity that everyone is creating for themselves. The second step is to know how to control that identity, and understand its costs and its benefits. As for me, I have a Osco/Sav-On Rewards Card hanging from my keychain. On the back is a little barcode, uniquely assigned to me. If I show it to the cashier while making my purchases, I could be eligible for certain discounts. I, however, have it because if this small line of text: "If lost keys are found, please return to the nearest Osco or Sav-on Drug Store." The little bar code may allow them to track my purchasing behavior, but I like that it makes it easy for them to get my keys back to me.

Thanks for the article, is there any way I can receive an email whenever you publish a new update? kkcdkfddcdfbcfdb

--, 01/10/2018 08:11:03

Your Name:
Your comment:

blog advertising is good for you
Looking For "Wookies"?