Archive for February, 2019

The Balance of Identity

This happened some time ago. I’m not sure when. The balance tipped.

It used to be that identity was asserted based on something you knew, something you had, or something you are. Online identity was centered on the individual. “Two factor” was another layer based on the same fundamentals.

Recently, more than a billion unique email addresses and passwords were posted to a hacking forum. Ideal for credential stuffing attacks by malicious hackers. The data was decrypted, the protective hashing removed. The breach was made up of 12 files and 87 gigabytes of plain text.

As a matter of fact, corporations and hackers have more of your identity than you do. They have more control over your identity data than you do. They can extend your identity into the world in more ways than you can. They can suck out the bits that you thought were yours alone.

The balance has shifted. Whatever it was that we thought made up our identity is now mostly in the possession of others. And not just the past, the present and the future as well.

Perhaps there’s some impression that people make upon the world that isn’t stored digitally in some corporation’s database. Maybe there’s some pattern that we repeat that isn’t used in a predictive behavior modeling program designed to increase sales.

Can it shift back the other way? What force would be strong enough to move it that way? Where would that force come from?