in Identity Management

Kim Cameron: What is a digital identity?

Finally Kim tackles the ultimate problem: it’s probably easy (…) to come up with his laws of identity, but how do you define “digital identity” in the first place??

Kim avoids a hard definition by walking through the different attempts at a definition, yet manages to come up with a good proposal by himself:

“A digital identity is a set of claims made by one digital subject about itself or another digital subject.”

I actually like that quite a lot, as it focusses on the claims rather than the representation. Most definitions so far would like to make hard links to cryptographic mechanisms, which I think is not a good idea. What I also like is the part that refers to who actually makes the claims – the subject or somebody else. This makes the connection to how to verify the claim or put it into context, which I think is the crucial thing about digital identities.

Update 2005-03-08: Kim adds definitions for digital subject and claim.

Leave a Reply