I've long been the cynic among my peer group who constantly promotes the "privacy is dead" trope, and I pretty much believe it. There's really no way to avoid the fact that most of us live in public, and that increasingly more of our lives will be captured, indexed and quantified. If people want to find out who I am, what I do, where I live and what I've been up to - it's not that hard. Despite the measures we can take to protect this information, there are few barriers that can stop a determined and technically savvy inquirer from eventually getting to the goods. I've come to terms with that.
But what would happen if we take the post-privacy concept to its logical extreme? Could one actually go on the offensive and publicly share all of his data as a measure to fully cement that my identity belongs to me? I don't know what this looks like just yet - but here are some of the things I've been thinking about:
- Could I publish a web page with all of my personal data, open to the world? I'm talking name, date of birth, social security number, the whole kit. Maybe even credit card numbers and passwords, eventually.
- Could some sort of
<meta>tag or other schema embedded in the page that lets a crawler or bot know that this is my official stuff? Or could the page be hosted on a service that essentially serves as the official home of open source identity?
- Can we use the blockchain mechanism for identity protection?
Of these, the last point is perhaps the most interesting. Instead of a single, canonical reference or identifier, can we use a collective mechanism to verify identify? I think that's a really neat idea.