Pervasive Identity

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Adam named all the animal species, according to some readings, about 5782 years ago. And the great David Kearns wrote about pervasive and ubiquitous identity back in 2013. Nine years later the explosive growth of ubicomp continues to spew sensing, thought, controls and talk into our buildings, cars, homes, medical devices, energy grids, and everything else.

“Digital Identity” started off as managing usernames and passwords on timesharing mainframes in the 1960s. Decentralization of computing means brings identity conversations with it, so they pervade our physical world as much as our virtual ones. Pervasive identity is a connective tissue helping us trust what we experience (or distrust it), delegate control to our agents and devices, and form meaningful consent.

When you’re building or healing the metaverse this year, high assurance identity is a way to bridge relationships in a much larger ecosystem of connections. It’s a way to futureproof (a little) today’s investments and to create agility to seize short term opportunities, and resilience against short term shocks. It’s become a way to scale interop among countries and across corporate lock-in.

Pervasive identity is a very old idea that’s becoming just plain identity.

P.S. If your device’s identity is obsolete, frail, or broken, does it really exist?


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