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Your identity is who you are; however, it is more than your name, address, and social security number. Your true identity of why you are here lies deep in the recesses of your subconscious and spirit.
In the era of digital identities, our personal data is strewn about the Internet. We regularly divulge details about our private lives on social media, from those “Nine truths and a lie” quizzes to sharing our location with our friends. Beyond social media, a basic image search can nearly always bring up a clear headshot of anyone. Even the personal information we think is kept private, from which bank we use to the answers to our security questions, can almost always be uncovered with a little sleuthing or hacking.
As we share all of this data on the web, we need to ask ourselves, who is really in control of your identity? Even beyond that, we have to consider who we are authorizing to represent us on the Internet. Google, Facebook, Twitter, and a few other companies have even set themselves up as identity providers. Every time you have clicked “Login using Facebook” on a third-party website, you have authorized Facebook to represent you online. But they are not just sharing your data in a way you can see, they are also selling it in ways you cannot. And you are not the one reaping the profits. So an even better question might be, who really owns your identity.
Some believe that the current way of life on the Internet is the way it will always be, but history shows the folly of such thoughts and the power of disruptive innovation. Digital identity is ripe for such disruption over the next decade, and we need to be ready to take the reins of our own data.
Technology is not always in sync with human values. Even though tapping ancient needs of social bonds has led to the success of social media, closely held understandings of personal identity and sovereignty is just as entrenched. Unfortunately, only a handful of the people are aware of the fact that protecting your identity and privacy online is a necessity nowadays.