Digital identity management

If we were to ask the Aristotelian what human identity is, he would probably say that it is related to his substance, to a specific metaphysical internal device, something immutable. Apart from the sense, he also has certain cases (accidents), which, on the contrary, are subject to change (the author of the text could have thickened or exchanged glasses while writing, but he remains the same person, i.e. Michal Černý). Identity is one at the same time, and no one can have multiple identities.

A tremendous thematic shift in this area was brought by psychotherapy, which works with the concept of multicultural self. Identity is not given by some stable and unchanging principle behind the world but is determined by how the human self appears in different roles and cultural contexts. Thus, a person is at the same time a scientist, a mushroom picker, and a father, and he develops and understands each of his identities (which, of course, relate to him) differently. Digital identity is thus part of the concept of a multicultural self. Therefore, although it relates to a particular person, it has different forms and meanings depending on whether we reflect it in the context of the social network Tinder or Researchgate.       

It is necessary to emphasize that this model of identity (identities) assumes that man is their active creator. They always have a specific component given by the environment and its interaction, but it is the person himself who dramatically influences it. 

Digital identity can be perceived (and often is) as a social problem. Many fake accounts can impersonate someone else and are used for manipulation or fraudulent practices. A big issue is a digital identity for HR professionals or journalists, who can deduce from it the personal or professional profile of the person. Respect for privacy is an absolute maxim, but it is necessary to consider that “googling“ someone is a standard part of social interaction.      

An interesting development is the more widespread use of augmented reality glasses - how would dialogues and social interactions change if we could analyze and read all the available information about each person we see for the first time, for example? 

From the above, it might seem that digital identity is primarily something negative or problematic. But it is closely related to building a good reputation or brand, i.e. a personal brand, which is perceived in cyberspace. That is why such attention is also paid to it. As the labor market changes dynamically, it also seems increasingly essential to report what one does. The topic of self-presentation is another point when we talk about what determines digital identity.     

Digital footprints and privacy protection

When we browse the Internet or use any services, we create data that can either be intended primarily for the internal needs of society (for example, the history of search terms) or can be public (for example, blog posts or discussions below articles). Both types of digital tracks can be dangerous, invade privacy, and need to be considered critically.

As for the data that the individual services store about us, one of the best-known cases is “Judith Duportail, who at her request Tinder sent 800 pages of information, including whether she more often connected with white men, Asians or blacks, how much time did anyone spend in her photo before swiping on or what words Judith used most when dating. ” Social networks (but also Google, for example) have a perfect overview of the behavior and interests of individual users and can often know more details about their preferences. And patterns of behavior than their loved ones or even themselves.       

From the point of view of legislation, the user must have the right to all information that the service obtains about him and request their deletion. Thanks to the introduction of GDPR, each service must also state what information it receives, why, and for how long it will keep it.

It seems reasonable to have a clear sharing policy on social networks, i.e. to whom and what we want to share. For example, it's a good idea to consider whether we allow Facebook to post information about our location when posting, whether all users of the network should see our photos, and so on. It is also advisable to have a precise set of what and for whom we have the web - for example, Twitter is used by many people as a professional community network, on which they will not give information about their dogs or children or holiday pictures.  

In European legislation, there is the right to oblivion, which can be seen at two levels. First of all, it is the right to delete data that the service stores about the user. It should be emphasized that this is the user's data, not the services themselves. The second level is related to the fact that the user can delete information about himself from the search if he is not the author of the report himself and damages him somehow.

One can intentionally blur a digital track or work with it in various ways. Specifically, it can focus on using it (especially the public one) to build a personal brand, acquaintance, influence.  

Suppose the user has the ambition to reduce the so-called passive track, ie the one whose conscious author is not himself. In that case, it is appropriate to use the anonymous browser mode (or other anonymizers), which prevents the user from connecting to cookies. The second measure is to use multiple accounts to work with different social networks or services, or it is possible not to work with your real name. The third important step is to carefully think about which application on the mobile phone we will make available, which part of the functions of our privacy. Of course, TOR can also be used to hide our surfing on the net entirely.   

One can intentionally blur the digital track or work with it in various ways. Specifically, it can focus on how it can use it (especially the public one) to build a personal brand, acquaintance, influence.

If the user has the ambition to reduce the so-called passive track, ie the one whose conscious author is not himself, it is appropriate to use the anonymous browser mode (or other anonymizers), which will prevent the user from connecting to cookies. The second measure is to use multiple accounts to work with different social networks or services, or it is possible not to work with your real name. The third important step is to carefully think about which application on the mobile phone we will make available, which part of the functions of our privacy. Of course, TOR can also be used if we want to completely hide our surfing on the net.

Social networks and other excellent services offer a lot of free tools - all they want is privacy. Privacy has become not a speculative philosophical or civic value but a currency we pay for using individual instruments, often without us being sufficiently aware of it. A critical reflection on how much we value our privacy is undoubtedly appropriate. Perhaps the tools in question are more expensive than we are willing and able to admit.

Show what you do and work out loud

On the one hand, social networks and, in general, creating one's own identity in the online environment deprive a person of privacy and open up space for a considerable number of problems, which we have considered above, but are also an extraordinary opportunity for self-presentation. It may have a purely commercial character, but more often, it is associated with the overall building of a “good impression of personality” and offers the opportunity to create and build new contacts.   

One of the “problems" of the present is that professions with a specific principle of social stabilization for quite a long time (being a judge or a bricklayer implied a relatively clear job description and social prestige or expected education) are changing dynamically. Thus, people may be subject to a particular predicament because they do not have what they can write on the door of their office or the web.

There is currently an accentuated trend that could be summarized in The Book of What You Do by Austin Kleon. It is necessary to show and present somewhere what one does and possibly why. The practice should not be random but ideally should be framed by some expertise, starting points. For example, if we look at teachers' websites from the USA, almost everyone mentions their educational philosophy. They do not mean an actual philosophy but rather a mental framing of what they are doing.  

Keeping a site, social network, or portfolio that will map what a person is doing is extremely useful and practical. It allows you to look back, track progress, make new contacts, and build your brand and inspire others. Just as it is essential for a positive perception of a brand for companies, one must strive to ensure that one's “brand" is perceived as positive, high-quality, serious, and trustworthy. The form of presentation should then correspond to what we do. 

The dimension of inspiration is also important. In each area of ​​human activity, it is possible to identify pioneers or innovators pushing their site forward. At the same time, they must make themselves known and share their experiences, procedures, examples of sound, and bad practice. In this context, there is talk of so-called working out loud.  

For example, on a blog, one can map the progress of a specific activity and let others know exactly how he proceeded - he can take followers with him and get feedback from readers. The great advantage of this method is the reflection of activity and the fact that it shows not only the ideal linear approach, all blind paths or more general patterns of behaviour and thought structures that other people can reflect and implement in their practice. Of course, working out loud also has its limits. Suppose it is operated in an environment that is not safe. In that case, it can become the subject of various attacks and insults (because it does not present complete perfect or flawless elements). It is also advisable to be careful when, for example, working with some sensitive data or whether certain procedures should be part of the work-out-loud process. 

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