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Identity

It used to be that identity was viewed as a single global tag. This is now seen as obsolete technology

The current technology is tripartate identity

Tripartate identify is the account identifier (url and login key), the login identifier (the identifying part of the users secret code), and the public identifier.

Which technology is meaningful only if we discuss identity siloed at a single site.

The account identifier is an identity's account at that site, and it gets used when one user clicks on another user's link at that site.

What if Bob clicks on Carol's reference to Ann, in order to interact with Ann at Dave's site?.

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The public identifier represents how the user wishes to be perceived by other users on the service. Think of it like clothing or the familar name people know you by. By definition, it does not possess the technical requirement to be 100% unique. There are many John Smiths of the world, thousands of them on Amazon.com, hundreds of them write reviews and everything seems to work out fine.

Online a user's public identifier is usually a compound object: a photo, a nickname, and perhaps age, gender, and location. It provides sufficient information for any viewer to quickly interpret personal context. Public identifiers are usually linked to a detailed user profile, where further identity differentiation is available; 'Is this the same John Smith from New York that also wrote the review of the great Gatsby that I like so much?' 'Is this the Mary Jones I went to college with?'.

A sufficiently diverse service, such as Yahoo!, may wish to offer multiple public identifiers when a specific context requires it. For example, when playing wild-west poker a user may wish to present the public identity of a rough-and-tumble outlaw, or a saloon girl without having that imagery associated with their movie reviews.

But this too is excessively limited, for this account of identity can only work on a single monolithic service. It does not help us open the silos of identity.

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