4 Pages Posted: 8 Nov 2004
Date Written: November 2, 2004
Identity and identifiers are tightly linked when both are confirmed on paper. In a world of paper, verified pseudonyms and conditional anonymity are impossibilities. Assumptions based on the paper identity system lead to flawed decisions in modern uses of failure-prone identifiers.
In this paper I begin by arguing that the use of the word, "identity", masks important social and technical complexities in developing digital identifiers. I describe how identity functions in a paper realm. I use the case of a traffic stop to illustrate how assertions of identity can increase rather than mitigate risks when the distinctions between identification, attribute verification and identity are confused. I conclude that misuses of identifiers are decreasing, not increasing, security.
Keywords: Privacy, security, cybersecurity
JEL Classification: L00, K00
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation