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D2.2: Set of use cases and scenarios

Executive Summary  Title:
 Identity issues of Digital Social Environments



The Internet is increasingly becoming more alive and more social, moving away from the idea of Internet as only a gigantic encyclopaedia or a massive shop, and in which the interactions only happen with machines. People today not only use the Internet more and more to interact others people, but they use it to socialize, to generate some lasting relationships, and even to develop a “real” social virtual life (in online forums, chats, massively multi-player online games, etc.). 

In this context, the online identity that people develop represents a critical element of the activities taking place in these virtual spaces. This digital identity - that represents how they are perceived in the online environment -, has a direct impact in enabling or preventing the social interaction, and on the nature of the interaction (for instance you do not interact the same way with someone that you know and you trust than with someone for whom you have no information at all). This online identity can be explicit, and managed by some forms of identity management systems, or can be more abstract and diffuse. In the latter case, it includes the social identity that people develop on line, and that exists in the form of the reputation that they acquire (in forum, blogs, etc.), or the network of relationships that they build (in “friends” specified in their blogs, in the Instant messaging buddy list, etc.).

Importantly, and contrary to the off-line world, the trace of this “implicit identity” can be recorded in the digital space, be accessible to human agents, or mined and exploited by automatic mechanisms. This does not happen without posing a series of issues (trust, privacy, identity thief, etc.), in particular when you know that part of this digital life is becoming more prominent in people’s lives, or that the frontier between digital life and real life is becoming blurred. 

The objective of this document is to present an overview of digital social environments from the viewpoint of the subject of identity. Its aim is to raise awareness on the diversity and richness of these environments, and on the different identity issues that may occur in these environments.  

The first part of this document consists in a general presentation and analysis according to an “identity” perspective of the concept of identity in the context of digital social environments. This document then presents the main categories of digital social environments, and illustrates each of them with a case or story presenting a particular issue. It then concludes by providing some directions of future thinking about online digital identity, and in particular the blurring of online and off-line words, the phenomenon of convergence (identity considered more holistically in the future), and the articulation between formal and informal identity. 



Executive Summary  fidis-wp2-del2.2.Cases_stories_and_Scenario_04.sxw  Identity issues of Digital Social Environments
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