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Identify yourself! This is the internet!

Increasingly, we're being asked to identify ourselves in situations that offline would never have required.
Written by Stilgherrian , Contributor

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Bring your own device (BYOD) policies create ambiguity over who owns what data, recruiters demand access to employees' Facebook pages, and our sense of personal identity and privacy is being changed fundamentally.

"It raises fundamental questions about the employers-employee relationship, and those boundaries are now being renegotiated," said Allison Cerra, vice-president of marketing, communications and public affairs for Alcatel-Lucent in the Americas Region, and co-author of the book Identity Shift: Where Identity Meets Technology in the Networked-Community Age.

So far, we're mostly happy with workplace changes. Of the 2800 enterprise employees Alcatel-Lucent interviewed for the book, 75 percent agreed that technology gave them the freedom to work when and where they wanted, rather than enslaving them to never-ending work.

Outside the workplace, things are not so clear. There are calls to identify trolls to prevent bullying and, under various government data retention plans, to identify all the emails to prevent terrorism. And businesses are already identifying all their customers in the pursuit of capitalism.

Increasingly, we're being asked to identify ourselves in situations that offline would have never required.

Yet, there are legitimate reasons for anonymity, and the issue really isn't identity, but trust. A laundry must trust that the person collecting a clean suit is the same person who dropped it off, but their identity is irrelevant.

"Probably, the next big frontier in the virtual world we live in, are forms of easy authentication that allow people to know that I'm dealing with who I am, and vice versa," Cerra said.

In this week's Patch Monday podcast, Allison Cerra discusses these and other emerging issues of identity, privacy, and trust, including their basis in fundamental human brain skills, the debacle of the Google+ real names policy, and what businesses can do to understand these issues.

To leave an audio comment on the program, Skype to stilgherrian, or phone Sydney +61 2 8011 3733.

Running time: 30 minutes, 37 seconds.

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