Owning Identity

This post (which I found thanks to Phil Windley is a most excellent essay on the question of ownership of identity. I agree that Bob Blakley paints an accurate picture of the current state of the world. However, the question he does not explore is: how could we change the status quo?

The particular element that I think we could inject into the mix is awareness. Although we cannot enforce control or ownership or even consent, we could strive to encourage awareness. The idea being that it is “not nice” to talk about people “behind their backs”. Although it is not currently required, we could work towards making sure that an effort was made to ensure that people were made aware of the stories that were being told about them. Just as we have libel laws that “infringe” upon the protections of freedom of speech. As you are not free to say whatever you want if it is untrue, perhaps you should not be free to talk about others without making them aware that you are doing so.

That complements the intent of libel laws by making people aware of stories being told about them. It isn’t unreasonable that they should have the opportunity to respond. It may even be feasible.

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