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D2.1: Inventory of Topics and Clusters

The Organisational dimension in FIDIS  Title:
 The Identity and Identification Issues


The Concepts of Identity and Identification

The objective of this section is to present to the reader an overview of the different issues and challenges of this domain (and indeed to express the importance of understanding this field), and then to present in more detail two of the related dimensions: The Identity dimension and the Identification dimension. 

These two dimensions are defined as: 

  1. The Identity dimension: set of characteristics representing a person 

  2. The Identification dimension: set of terms, concepts, and mechanisms that relate to the disclosure of this identity information and the usage of this information. 


This distinction between the two dimensions has been introduced to distinguish two different (and complementary) perspectives: 

  1. A descriptive perspective referring to the representation of a person or thing in terms of a set of relevant attributes (third person perspective; objectification). In this case, the conceptualization of identity is done via the specification a set of attributes and associated states describing the characteristics of object (persons, groups, organizations) having an identity.

  2. A process perspective referring to the identification of a person or thing by uniquely differentiating him/her/it from all other persons and/or things (third person perspective; objectification), and by the usage of this information. In this case, this conceptualization of identity is considered in the context of identity related processes in which objects (persons, groups, organizations) possessing some identity are engaged, such as: the disclosure of identity information (authentication, profiling, etc.), and how this information is to be used (to give access to resources, to monitor and notarise the behaviours, etc.).



The following section provides more detailed, formal and structured definitions of the different terms and concepts used in the identity domain. 

It is important to stress from the beginning that the terms Identity and Identification refer to two different concepts which are related but must not be confused. On the one hand, Identity is used to refer to a set of explicit relevant attributes (permanent or temporary) of a person in the context of practical activities. For instance, attributes related to the competency of a person will intervene in the working context, in a scenario in which competency represents an important factor of success in the accomplishment of a goal. On the other hand, Identification refers to the process used to link a person with an identity. Some criteria can be used for this purpose such as: the name of a person, her fingerprints, her genetic characteristics and her behavioural patterns. This reduction of attributes is necessary to produce easy, efficient and effective means to allow people access to restricted information or to find a specific person for reasons of security or commerce, for example. 

Another distinction that should not be overlooked refers to the reductive characterisation of a person and to the identity of a living person (Hildebrandt 2005; Ricoeur 1992). The first, referred to as the idem-identity is static even if it is regularly upgraded, and is the only one explicitly formalised and manipulated by information and identification technologies. The second one, referred to as the ipse-identity and representing who the person really is (from a philosophical point of view), is fundamentally fluid and indeterminate, and is out of the reach of the information and identification technologies. 



The Organisational dimension in FIDIS  fidis-wp2-del2.1_Inventory_of_topics_and_clusters_03.sxw  The Identity and Identification Issues
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