Identity Theft vs Identity Gift by Ray Ogar

>>> COPYRIGHT 2005

This entry originally appeared as a response to designer Eddy Roberts blog entry on the use of databases to collect information on personal identity.

so these databases act as miners. rather the code that is written to gather the information does the mining? this makes me think of decentralization on the large scale. these codes could be written by anyone to gather information. our initial idea is that data gathering occurs so that larger corporations can utilize such information to narrowcast our desires, so they can sell better. what would be the potential of this type of code writing on the small scale? i.e. if i were a hacker and created a database, information gathering system, what would that mean? am i a mini corpor(eal)ation or simply someone trying to steal an identity? this brings about an interesting duality of the database or the reason someone would use/create/write code for a database... to steal or capture or get a handle on an identity. granted there are databases just for money, accounts, information. but these databases usually lead to identifying someone in particular.

there is another possible duality here. the database on the individual or the database on one aspect of many individuals (or many aspects of many individuals). i think of several recent news items where "upwards of 200,000" people's personal information was lost by such-in-such company. so a database was hacked/lost/stolen/physically dislocated and someone has this information. for what? probably identity theft. and as identity becomes more tied to monetary institutions (through capatalistic-based databases) and then identity, at least in the case of american-western-based-database-identity-theft, means we are our money... since that seems to be the only reason anyone steals an identity....

hmm... so what would be activist identity theft?
i steal your identity to actually just be you? i don't want your money, just your life? will that be a new kind of identity theft...?
i also think of the "re-identification" (or what i will call an "identity gift") that the "yes men" (two thinker/hacker types in new york) accomplish when they pose as certain finanical corporations or world organizations. in one of their pranks they act as the wto and attend an international meeting in hopes of creating a new "identity" for the wto, to create a new meaning for it and to basically raise awareness. this is the case of the small man, database crashing on the corporation, to re-identify that company (reverse identity theft).