The digital I.D.

In Barclay’s article* there is this idea of a digital identity, a persona created entirely in digital reality that is like you but isn’t you. Instead, it’s an identity created from information a user provides, separate from their physical self. This information is plucked arbitrarily from website to website, dependent on what each site requests. From social media, it would be every bit of personally identifiable information provided, from plain text to image to video. From healthcare providers, it would be records submitted. From online bankers, it would be transactional information required to dish money out. Some of this revealing information can public, though many believe most of it should be private. Such information could be metadata pin-pointing a person’s location over a period of time. Surprise: this information belongs to the company providing the geolocation service.

In criminal procedure* there lies a theory called the mosaic theory,* which proposes that many disparate parts may add to a complete (and seemingly correct) whole. In Carpenter,* the Supreme Court found that government tracking of a user’s global position over a fixed amount of time outside the scope of the warrant constitutes a search. If tracking a user over an extended period of time to determine criminal activity could be deemed a violation, what about tracking them without their informed consent?* Third-party trackers can create a second identity of a user, even if those trackers are providing beneficial services. Users equip technology that tracks their browsing, that tracks their movement, that tracks their cardiac information, that tracks their spending habits, that tracks their “Likes.”* Advertising companies target this juicy information so they can tailor products better suited to individual preferences. These companies are large miners of data; what they possess many would consider extremely sensitive. ❖

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