BPM Milan: Digital Identity

Ben Jennings of University College London presented a paper on Digital Identity and Reputation in the Context of a Bounded Social Ecosystem, co-authored by Anthony Finkelstein.

He started with a discussion about digital identity that reminded me briefly of Dick Hardt’s Identity 2.0 presentation: using himself as an example, showing how he appears in different contexts on the web, such as Flickr, Facebook and YouTube. We all have this same problem of the reconciliation of multiple digital identities: we all have to maintain multiple profiles and multiple social graphs on multiple social networks.

Within some sort of bounded social ecosystem — where we have common goals, such as within an enterprise — the digital identity concept changes: your identity is at least partially pre-created (e.g., through your local network credentials), but this isn’t enough in a large organization where everyone doesn’t know everyone personally and where there may be multiple systems that don’t share credentials. There are still issues of disambiguating and unifying identities between the systems in use within the bounded social context, especially if it’s not a closed enterprise: there must be some fairly complex pattern recognition even to match up email addresses, which can be specified in a number of different formats.

Once you’ve established digital identity, then you can start on the larger issue of trust and reputation; so far, the research has only reached the stage of automating the recognition of digital identity, but will be expanded to (for example) selecting the most appropriate person for a specific task in a process, based on their reputation as derived from their contributions to many other systems.

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