Individual Identity in the Network Society
The Internet is becoming inextricably intertwined with most modern ICTs in everyday practice. Mobile phones, television, music players and broadband-enabled computers are all used in ways that enable the exchange of content via the Internet. Research shows that for many people, a sizable portion of the day is spent online; shopping, finding things out, updating public and private profiles, working and playing together, and maintaining connections with small and large networks of people.
In this digital world of converging devices, individuals’ identities will be increasingly difficult to coordinate across different platforms. Apart from privacy concerns, the development of technologies for managing identity raise a host of social issues and challenges for the digital economy, for example:
- Will it be possible to carry one’s identity across different communities or networks, for example Second Life, Facebook, and Google Lively? And are the memberships in these communities and networks restricted, so that stratification may emerge within and between different online and offline groups?
- Can one’s online property – such as music, photographs, and webpages – be transferred from one provider or community to another? Or do walled gardens create silos that create lock-in’s that are barriers to creativity and economic competition?
- Should service providers – including government, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector – be able to link personal data to provide convenience to end-users and organizational efficiencies? Where are the trade-off’s between this concentration and standardized management of data as against threats to privacy and adaptability?
These issues will have a significant effect on how people allocate their time across different activities in the digital economy. They will affect the sources and content of information that individuals consume; their social networks and economic transactions; and the balance of time spent between different types of activity, such as social life, commercial activity, political participation and educational activities.
The session will be chaired by Dr. Sandra Gonzales Bailon from University of Oxford with Gary Graham, Rashid Mehmood, Thierry Rayna and Ludmila Striukova.
Presentation from the session can be found here.