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« Virtual identities and LLPs | Main | The long and short of it »

What's the use case?

By Dave Birch posted Apr 29 2009 at 5:25 PM

[Dave Birch] Suppose you did have a virtual identity that did something for you that was so useful that would actually pay for it. What kind of thing should it do? At the Forum Oxford Future Technologies seminar I heard Mark Curtis of Flirtomatic say something along the lines of "we would happily use mobile operator age verification services if they worked". This struck me as a very simple, prosaic example. Just as in the physical world there are a couple of age verification schemes where teenagers can buy cards that show them to be over 18, perhaps the online equivalent would be the place to begin.

Now that people like Facebook are getting on board with OpenID, perhaps one idea might be to a create an OpenID source that supplies IDs with a single credential IS_OVER_18 and two-factor authentication. This would be, effectively, one of Bob's LLPs. Where would you use this? Well, one of the long standing mass market problem area is social networking. There have been attempt to deal with this piecemeal.

Mobile social networking service Funky Sexy Cool is offering identity verification to all its members at no additional cost, says Tim O’Connor, CEO of the New York-based company. But members have to choose to go through the process. Funky Sexy Cool enables members to find other like-minded individuals in the same geographic area to hang out with. For example, a member can send out a message to his friends saying he’ll be at a certain club or bar... Funky Sexy Cool is using ID verification technology from IDology Inc., Atlanta. IDology searches public databases to confirm an identity [and] charges about 37 cents per ID verification.

[From Social networking sites have little to no identity verification : CR80 News]

Now teenagers would, naturally, want to obtain the 2FA "device" of an older sibling or friend in order to gain access to sites, but it's not like using fake ID to buy a beer, because they'd end up logged in not as themselves but their sibling, friend etc which isn't much use in social networking.

While I was thinking about how this kind of service might be priced and paid for, I remembered reading somewhere that someone else had already thought up a great new word for this kind of thing. A quick rendezvous with a well-know search engine found it again for me.

“Compulsory self-responsibility will force consumers to optimize their self. This self will call for deliberate decisions and new orientation frames. Identity will become a management assignment. Recognition will become the new key quantity.” The result is what the authors call “Egonomics - an economy geared to the own self.” Egonomics comprises of the following pillars: Body: Healthstyle; Security: Authentification; Relationships: Connectivity; Recognition: Reputation; Self-actualization: Creativity.

[From Putting people first » Identity management manifesto]

Isn't that great word, "egonomics"? It has the key characteristic I always look for: as soon as you hear it, you know what it means. Following in the same spirit, I should report that Gabe Chomic from the LSE has sent in a rather good suggestion for the LLP name: Antero-Persona, from the Latin for making it a 'Front' or 'Public' Person, with the handy contraction AP for short. What do you think?

These opinions are my own (I think) and are presented solely in my capacity as an interested member of the general public [posted with ecto]

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