Saturday, March 05, 2005, 12:12 AM

Entity Identity

When we talk about digital identities, the conversation is typically around identities of people. We do not necessarily include identities of all entities that can potentially interact on the net -- computers, services, gadgets, phones, appliances, ovens, trucks, even cans of sodas. Why don't we?

Why shouldn't we include all digital entities in any conversation on digital identities. In many cases, we might not even know if one of the participants in a transaction is human or a server. A participating entity might not even be representing a human -- it could be just an agent of a legal identity (like a company). "Human" versus "not human" is probably not the most useful discriminant when thinking about digital identities.

Put differently, we would probably never have secure, reliable networks unless all networked entities have strong digital identities, not just people.

Here are a few articles discussing entity identities:
Robin Bloor, The Identity Crisis in IT (
John Fontana, Extending identity management's realm (
Dave Kearns, The identity of things (
Mark Wahl, Identity Management for devices, (

2 Comment(s):

Blogger Luke Razzell said...

I quite agree. Have you come across Bruce Sterling's ideas regarding Spimes?.

I would go further and suggest that applications also have an identity...

8:26 AM  
Blogger Ben Hyde said...

People don't like to be treated as objects. Do objects have rights? Because it's easier to deploy identity systems around entities with minimal rights such systems are a very interesting place to look for trends, innovation, tech, etc. Cattle, solders, employees, prisoners, children, elderly, shipping containers...

8:24 AM  

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