Why link your online and offline identities?

By 10.03.2017Blog, Uncategorized
It’s a habit for most people to protect their privacy by preventing others to link „who I am“ and „what I do“. Since online, it is totally transparent and measurable „what I do“, I make sure that „who I am“ remains a mystery.
This is in contrast to typical behavior in the physical world, where it is pretty obvious “who I am” and I take care that people don’t know too much about „what I do“.
This behavior is perfectly normal and has nothing to do with „hiding“. It’s rather like wearing clothes. Something that makes everyday live just much more agreeable. And like everybody has the right to wear what they please, everybody should have the right to be as open or secretive as they wish to be.
In the „good old times“, privacy of „what I do“ was not an issue one had to think about. The cost of gathering a lot of data about a person was prohibitive and guaranteed a basic level of privacy. The veil was only pierced selectively, for example by credit bureaus to track payment behavior across vendors and shipping addresses.
Online the situation is vastly different. Every company gathers data about what you do. Companies track your list of friends, the websites you are visiting, the calls you are making, where you stay during the night, how long you commute, what you buy and basically everything you do. This data gives companies a very clear picture of what you did and what you will probably do.
Since we know that we are being tracked with respect to „what we do“ all over the Internet, we don’t want to allow anybody to make the connection to „who we are“.
This is the place where fidentity fits into the picture. Sometimes „who I am“ is important because it is a significant trust anchor. When you know “who I am“, you can verify important statements I make about myself or use the legal system to enforce an agreement. Both aspects are important trust builders in a new relationship. This is relevant when you make a financial transaction, when you make a purchase or when you make a significant legal transaction.
But this simple „who I am“ logic is too crude for the Internet. Rather there are many aspects of „who I am“ which have an independent meaning. When I want to buy liquor, it’s enough to know that I am old enough to make the purchase. When you want to know whether I am human, it is enough to verify that fact. You don’t need to see my ID card and learn my name and address.
fidentity is here to give everybody the power to selectively disclose relevant aspects of „who you are“ to others.