Archive for September, 2010

This blog post is Part-2 of a series that started as the ongoing thinking after our Digital Identity Tour in June 2010. In Part-1, I developed the idea of the Unpolished Diamond.

Today, I will entertain you on the concept of a Digital Identity Tuner, which in its own is also a further evolution of the Identity Rights System 3.0 post of March 2010.

It all started coming together when – during the tour – we visited PayPal.

This visit was at the end of the tour. We were welcomed by Eve Maler, Distinguished Engineer, Identity Services at PayPal, and Andrew Nash, Senior Director Identity Services at PayPal

Eve MalerAndrew Nash

These folks of PayPal basically told us to forget what we had seen earlier in the week. These are probably some of the smartest identity folks around, so you pay attention.

Indeed, I was amazed how much further ahead they were, not only in their conceptual thinking, but also in the pace at which they define and rapidly test new protocol standards.

The eye-opener for me was that there is no business in identity, but there is some significant potential when flipping the discussion to sharing and managing of user data.


It is not that much about identity,

but more about digital footprint.


Happens that a couple of weeks later I read Tony Fish’s book My Digital Footprint, where the author explains razor sharp that there is a difference between digital identity and digital footprint.

At about the same time, I saw appearing on the internet all sorts of semantically tagged enabled viewers, like this one from Recorded Future.


Recorded Future lets you search and find for events, based on the WHAT, the WHO/WHERE and the WHEN.


What if we could do this

for a person’s digital footprint ?


Here is where my Digital Identity Tuner comes into the picture:


Remember those old radios ? You could “tune” into a radio channel, and there was a big button, and if you turned that button an arrow would move over a “map” of pre-defined radio stations.

What if we could do the same on your digital footprint ?

Petervan Digital Persona AUG 2010

The spectrum above is my “Digital Persona” as generated recently by MIT’s Digital Personas project. Personas shows you how the internet sees you.

Every color in the spectrum is about a certain dimension of your digital footprint: books you read, education, political preferences, musical preferences, professional attributes, etc, etc…

What if you could make that spectrum “clickable” ? Not only via a browser, but also via API’s. What if you could zoom in/out that spectrum or certain aspects of it ?

So far, we have “tuned” in two dimensions:

  • On the horizontal axis, hovering over the different color dimensions
  • On the “depth” axis, zooming in/out to get more or less detail

Let me add the third dimension of Time.


I could tune into the past, but I could also tune into the future, as my digital footprint does not only contain past behavior, but also contains real-time data (such as devices that I may wear to beam my heartbeat-data to the Microsoft or Google or Wallgreens or whoevers Healthvault when running a couple of miles on my cloud enabled Nike shoes.


It also contains data about my future, as I keep my calendar in Google Calendar, for example. Or the event for which I bought tickets. Or even on-line streaming events for which I subscribed.




UPDATE-2: or check out this TED Video, on the Quantified Self, with Gary Wolf’s intriguing new pastime: using mobile apps and always-on gadgets to track and analyze your body, mood, diet, spending — just about everything in daily life you can measure — in gloriously geeky detail.


So, the third dimension is time.


What if I would have a sort of

“Remote Control”


that could let me navigate through my digital footprint on those three dimensions. It’s like steering a helicopter via remote control.



Or maybe more dimensions. You would end-up with something that navigates you through a fractal or so…

Of course, we don’t live alone on this planet.


We are part of tribes

of swarms

with leaders and followers


I love the metaphor of “SWARM”


Imagine that we have a similar digital tuner for navigating the swarm. For seeing links between the WHO’s in the swarm.

UPDATE: just a couple of hours after my initial posting of this blog entry, I came across this great post by Greg on Digital Tonto about “The Story of Networks”. At the end he refers to a great TED talk by Nicholas Christakis “How social networks predict epidemics” 


In essence, it shows the “swarm” of communities, leaders and followers and their relationships. And how germs, ideas, memes, etc spread in a community based on the same S-curves as innovations happen. Nicholas A. Christakis, MD, PhD, MPH, is an internist and social scientist at Harvard University who conducts research on social factors that affect health, health care, and longevity.

So far, we looked at “navigating”. But the system would also allow me to define and manage who gets access to what parts of my digital footprint in what specific contexts or constraints. Not only “access”, but also “usage”.

For all that to happen, we need to fundamentally rethink how we deal with digital footprint.


We have to navigate away from identity systems that mimic our brick-and-mortar world, that are still based on the metaphor of identity cards, or passports, or electronic equivalents based on PKI systems and certificates.


No, we almost need a new semantic tagging language. Not to “tag” pages or servers, but to tag my digital footprint.

And not only “tag” it but allocate and manage “usage” rights to it. And I should be the owner of those data, whether they sit on my computer, in Facebook, or distributed open source models like Diaspora.




So that I end up with a collection of different “where’s” where data about me is kept. It may lead to some new form of DNS, but then a DNS of people. Not pages or servers.

Maybe all this is a bit of futuristic/iconoclastic thinking. Maybe. But when reading the book “Iconoclast: A Neuroscientist Reveals How to Think Differently” by Dr. George Berns, I came across the following two sentences and took them a little bit out of … context.

But they are so relevant to our identity context:

There are two paths in spectrum: one for identity/categorization and the other for digital footprint / Trail / history/future (time dimension, recording, in the future,…)

The high road is concerned with extracting where objects are located and throws away the elements related to their identity. The low road, on the other hand, is concerned with identification and categorization, and less so with objects’ spatial locations

As Tony Fish so well articulated in his book: we have to separate identity an footprint.

The discussion

about internet identity

has moved from identity to footprint

how we are going to manage that

with a privacy ethic

that is adapted

to our hyper-connected world


Privacy is not dead. It needs to be redefined.

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Cross-posted on Swiftcommunity.net


Matteo may have been a bit over-enthusiastic when he declared his session "probably the best session at Sibos 2010" . I guess he may have been unaware of something very special that is happening in the context of the Innovation Keynote Sessions of Monday 25 Oct 2010 at 9am .

What’s going on there is so unique , that i suggest you doublecheck your travel plans to ensure you can be there at 9am Monday morning !

What’s up ?

One of our keynote speakers is Venessa Miemis, a brilliant 28 year old Graduating pursuing a Masters in Media Studies at the New School in NYC. Venessa has a fantastic blog called Emergent by Design  and you can follow her tweets @venessamiemies  where she is leading us in a fascinating way through a collaborative effort to explore the emerging Network Culture and ways in which we can collaboratively build human intelligence and raise consciousness.

Some months ago, i asked Venessa to do a 15 min keynote on The Future of Money as seen through the eyes of Gen-Y. We occasionally kept contact via mail, twitter and skype, and in the spirit of her blog tag-line "emergent by design", and did not give and further instructions and trusted the process and the smartness of young people.

Great was my pleasant surprise when Venessa published her outline some weeks ago under the title "The Future of Money Begins !" .


The keynote will be on "large scale shifts in cultural values and the impact they’re having on our relationship with money, our perceptions about ourselves as humanity, and how we are redefining what ‘true wealth’ means." For more details on the content, see the link/picture above.

What is really cool is not only the content of this keynote, but also they way how Gen-Y people like Venessa approach such task .

Without corporate structural constraints, Venessa told me very early in the process how she wanted to do something special: she wanted to produce a video as part of her keynote.

And in a true on-line collaboration Gen-Y way, she was going to produce this video with a company in… Berlin. For Gen-Y, they are truly no geographical boundaries anymore.

But to produce such video will require some money. No problem, how do Gen-Y approach this ? They ask their on-line communities for support.

So she launched the Future of Money Website  – and Emergence Collective "creating innovative momentum" with a fundraising via PayPal .

You can determine for yourself what degree of support you can muster to help. It starts at 5$ and can go up to 1,000$ if you want to be Executive Producer of this video.

At the time of this writing, the counter stands at 470$ ! I made a small calculation:

  • if each of the 10,000 readers of this swiftcommunity.net blog contribute 1$, will be able to make come true their full blown dream.
  • if each only 1% of the 10,000 readers donate 100$, same !

I don’t think it should be so difficult for our banks, partners, employees to find between 1-5$ to help support this really cool project.

  • For $5,000: They will create a beautiful and useful visualization of all the companies, initiatives and organizations we’ve been tracking in their research. Right now this research is a tangled mind map but with the skills in their team they have the ability to transform it into an informative and elegant visualization. This would include an overview of peer-to-peer lending platforms, open money protocols, emerging virtual currencies, microfinance platforms, and social currencies.
  • For $10,000: They’re going to be conducting a bunch of interviews very soon. Typically interviews will run between 10-30 minutes. However the video they’re producing will be between 3-5 minutes when it’s finished. Obviously they’re going to have to leave some stuff out. With this level of support they’ll be willing to edit each interview on its own and release it as its own video.

So let’s see what happens. The offer is made. The deadline is Venessa’s presentation on October 25, 2010. It’s up to you to decide if these expanded aspects of the project are worth your money and our time.

The result of this work – the video and the presentation – will be given away under a creative commons license.

Even just a small amount will go a long way towards helping us cover our time and expenses on this volunteer effort. And of course it couldn’t hurt to tell your friends   via your blogs and tweets.

To show the example, we just sent via PayPal some encouragement from the SWIFT Innovation budget to kick-start the process.

Very curious to see where this goes.

And Matteo, no offence, but i think this session will probably be the best attended session at Innotribe @ Sibos 2010

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Sine parole. Watch this TED video on the resilience of our planet.




The nine planetary boundaries are:


Let the environment guide our development


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