Nobody cares about online identities? Really? /img/online-identities.png

Reading my recent posts about “Mastodon flaws”that are NOT flaws and online identities in general, an online contact of mine replied with several comments, whose main points I believe may be synthesized as follows (any error here is mine, of course):

  • who cares about establishing real identities, without ambiguities?
  • ONLY those with economic interests in it want unique identities for EVERYBODY. Everybody else could not care less
  • the problem here is that those people wonderfully tamed all of you, forcing you to appear online with your real identity
  • I, instead, are 100% for anonimyty, privacy, and nicknames
  • the beauty of the Net is exactly that freedom you feel when NOBODY knows you
  • please re-read the 1996 Cyberspace Independence Declaration by John Barlow

OK. That Independence Declaration from 21 years ago really deserves a full rereading and commentary from 2017. I hope I can do that soon. For the moment, I would just like to point out that:

  • we all have to have (at least one) identity online. Even if it is a 100% anonymous nickname
  • as far as I am concerned, “establishing an identity” does NOT mean being entitled to, and using, only ONE identity, with the same ONE name your one, “real” physical body has. That’s Zuckerberg, not me. As far as I’m concerned, you surely can, and in many cases you really should, have several, distinct online identities, e.g. one for work, one for family, one for whistleblowing and talking politics, one for volunteer work… and one for taxes and other interactions with the state
  • the reality of life is that each of us needs a “real, unique, legally valid, identity”, that also exists online, and then other identities
  • the solution to many of the problems caused by the current platforms (Google, Facebook, Twitter..) for online identity and communications lies in:
    • having personal clouds like this first (one per identiy, if you need so),
    • and, only after that, attaching to them accounts for microblogging, real time chat, email, and every other service
  • last but not least: it is urgent to develop and offer solutions for online identities and communications that are immediately usable by everybody. Not just by us, that is the kind of people who noticed that Independence Declaration when it first appeared