To understand the arguments surrounding identity, one must understand the meaning and the process of its development. According to Techopedia (n.d.), a digital identity is comprised of key data attributes – username, date of birth, online search activity, etc. – and digital identifiers – email address, domain name, etc.- claimed in cyberspace to reflect an individual or organisation.
The graphic above demonstrates “7 Steps To Building Your Digital Identity”. These factors can be adapted to a single or multiple personas to reflect an individual’s social character, professional position, or desire to be anonymous.
Cristina Costa and Ricardo Torres (2011, p.g.49) highlight that the development of a digital identity provides “exposure and new forms of community engagement”, such engagement can be on either a professional or social level. This open conversation platform positively enables users to develop knowledge and their network.
On the flipside, one of the biggest issues with a known digital identity is the potential for invasion of privacy. Internetsociety.org (n.d.) state that the risk of identity theft has “grown with the rapid changes in information sharing brought on by the internet”. Data protection has become a publically debated topic following data leaks of public figures and bodies. The clip below is captured from Snowden (2016), a film based on true events describing the illegal surveillance techniques that Edward Snowden revealed whilst working for NSA.
Recently I, along with many others in the UK, suffered a breach of my personal account whilst using a fast food delivery service. In my case several hundred pounds was removed via orders that I did not place.
Do you Deliveroo? 🚴🍕🍔
Hackers are ordering giant feasts worth £100’s from other people’s accounts 😧💸 Stop it happening to YOU ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/gQwWKvqxVx
— BBC Three (@bbcthree) November 23, 2016
Danish journalist Pernille Tranberg in her TedTalk, suggested methods to protect identities. She highlighted a site called fakenamegenerator which generated her a persona – much like the one I have created below – which she could use on sites where she did not want the information to affect her professional persona.
She claimed that 7 out of 10 recruiters reject people because of their profiles. Yet suggested that, the problem with fake identities is that Big Data can figure out which fake accounts belong to whom by correlating preferences and activities.
Privacy online has become of an increased concern to me due to my personal experiences, and I have noted that this has changed how I present myself online. With this I have become more restrictive on what information I give out however, I consider that I still maintain a single online identity.
Word Count: 402
- BBC Three (2016) ‘Do you Deliveroo?’, Twitter, 23 November. Available at: https://twitter.com/bbcthree/status/801466309628215297 (Accessed: 23 February 2017).
- Costa, C. and Torres, R. (2011) ‘To be or not to be, the importance of digital identity in the networked society’, Educação, Formação & Tecnologias, 0(0), pp. 47–53.
- FilmIsNow: Movie Bloopers & Extras (2016) Snowden clip compilation (2016). Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-eNGBlM8do (Accessed: 24 February 2017).
- InternetSociety (2017) Protecting your privacy. Available at: http://www.internetsociety.org/protecting-your-privacy (Accessed: 24 February 2017).
- jetsetshow (2010) 7 steps to building your online identity. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2UlcOX1fZW4&feature=youtu.be (Accessed: 23 February 2017).
- Snowden (2016) Directed by Oliver Stone via IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3774114/ (Accessed: 24 February 2017).
- Techopedia (2017) What is a digital identity? Available at: https://www.techopedia.com/definition/23915/digital-identity (Accessed: 26 February 2017).
- TEDx Talks (2013) Fake it – to control your digital identity: Pernille Tranberg at TEDxOxford. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cRrgD-4-D8s (Accessed: 24 February 2017).