Anique Yael: Speculating identity and agency in the next generation internet: the case for entitlements

5/11/2018 - 07:32

.....Being under versed in the technicality of the internet and much more at home in speculating decentralised infrastructures for collective wellbeing, I admit now that I am missing certain finite details behind the complex field of entitlements. And this is why collaborative leadership is so important: it is what brings heads of government units to share a table with philosophers and vice-mayors, digital security advocates, software developers, vendors and activists to figure out how to write choice (back) into the intricate internet of our daily life. As far as I understand, it goes a little something like this.

Policy makers, digital social innovators and regulators are trying to build mechanisms that link the identity of a person, thing, interaction, or environment with the act of choosing when and how to share that identity. Take for example the fact that even though I’m 34, about half of the time I still get asked for ID when I enter a bar. And when I provide an ID card to prove my identity the bouncer ends up accessing not just my age but also my name, citizenship and birth place, address, gender, physical capabilities etc. Not only that, but more and more bars are choosing to scan and store this information in their database in case I “misbehave” (and on follows a passionate debate between a bouncer and myself one evening this past Spring in Brixton). The case for entitlements as I understand it, is that any identity should have the right to choose which pieces of information that make up that identity are relevant to share in each context. Eg. here’s my age, that’s all you need friend.
Right now, with the proliferation of “smart governance” and IoT it’s not just human identities that need to be addressed. What happens when an autonomous driving car hits a smart lamppost that falls and burns down a heritage-listed forest that is the sacred site of the local indigenous people? For example. Which follows that what constitutes an identity and how that identity is a) implicated in a situation and b) has rights in that situation is brought into wonderful and inspirational question.