16th Colloquium - On digital self-determination and personal identity

23.05.2020 12:00
A look at how digital and analogue environments impact personal identity and the personal management of identity data
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Speaker: Auris-E. Lipinski

Saturday, 23rd May 2020

Time: 12-18 o´clock

Mode of colloquium: online

We have decided for Jitsi as conference room for the meeting: https://meet.jit.si/PhenCoCo-Colloquia


Coming? - Let us know in an e-mail to info@phencoco.net

(In the light of current events, the mode has changed to online. Registration is still encouraged, for our counts and preparation, as Jitsi has trouble dealing with too many participants sometimes.)



11:30 - 12:00 Coffee at home

12:00 - 12:20 Intro

12:30 - 13:30 Presentation

13:30 - 14:00 Pause, food, drinks, coffee

14:00 - 18:00 Open discussion


Digital self-determination and personal identity



A study by the University in Köln tries to establish "digital self-determination" as research object (first version 2016, current version 2018) and to find out what society and citizens think about their self-determination in digital matters. A fixed theoretical concept of digital self-determination is, according to this study, not normatively clear and in its empirical framework not systematically categorised.


The first part of this presentation is about what this entails and how we can connect these notions to the one of personal identity. Here we are talking about ontological questions, which are touched by psychological theories, philosophical theories and all kinds of human interested arts and science approaches.

This includes a look at connected linguistic instances like "self", "autonomy", "identity" which converge in the notion of "personal identity" and are of interest, when talking about self-determination in general. It also includes a hint on why it is neither trivial, nor unnecessary to distinguish "analog self-determination" and "digital self-determination".


The second part is concerned with the argumentation for practical approaches to a problematised account of digital-self determination. Namely, this is the problem of users not being in control of their own data.

This presentation will focus on the example of identity data not being controlled by the user it belongs to. It also comments on the problematic consequences arising from this lack of control, in specific circumstances. For example, the distribution of identity data in the internet without a handle on it.

Complexity issues:

The complexity of the topic arises through many different approaches, which easily get mixed up, since everything is connected and important for the respectively mentioned aspects, like

- who

- how

- in what context

- under which circumstances

- with which technologies,

- and, most importantly, why?

The question "How can we mend the problem of a lack of control on our identity data?" fails to take into account the user differences, because the question, thusly formulated, asks for a universal solution.

The question "Which user groups need which degree of autonomy?" fails to address the notion of equal chances and possibilities, that is ideologically fundamental.

The question "Why should we use blockchain for identification verification purposes?" fails to address the issue of whether something like identification verification is needed, in the first place, and for what.

You get the idea.

Now, in many sources of information for technologies which can be used, (lets call them) 'arguments' are made on the side, which justify the reasons why this technology is explained. Those are almost never properly situated in theoretical frameworks, seldomly introduced and often barely recognisable - the more the learner or thinker pays attention to the technological explanations, the less time and capacity is left to question the reasons for implementation.


The third part shows how two broader argumentation strands, incorporating different positions with an overlap of their consequences. These Argumentation strands lead into two different directions concerning practical approaches to solve the "lack of control problem". One tries to diversify, the other tries to collect and centralise identity data.
The conclusion of the presentation estimates that one of the solution proposals has a better chance of success than the other. The criteria for this success estimation, here, is realism - a try to estimate how realistic the success, in light of the complexity of the topic, actually is.


Speaker Details:

Auris-E. Lipinski

Moderator 1: Anil K. Jain (12:00-13:30)

Moderator 2: Gaurav Ganger (13:30 - 18:00)

Moderator (in training): Robert Dudley

Please have a look at the "Team Page" of this Website for information on the speakers and moderators.


During the session

Please keep your questions until the end of the presentation. The moderators will make notes of your raised hands (see hand icon in software) and chat messages (see chat icon in software) to come back to you in the appropriate order and time.


There will be pauses, the discussion should be in the session, not in the pauses, as not everybody will be able to answer to the points made "out-time".



Discussion points


- What is digital self-determination?

- How does it relate to self, autonomy and so on?

- How do the spreading of identity data differ, in respect to the analog and digital realm

- Do we need identity verification?

- IF yes, when is it essential and when is it more harmful than helpful?

- How do users differ?

- How does this relate to their ability to have control over their data?

- which aspects are theoretical, which are practical and how are they connected?

- Is there any argumentation for anything, that can take all of the connected aspects into account, and if not - how to deal with it?




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