What do we do?
OISTE deals with digital identities and the technologies, methods and strategies proposed for the management of digital identities. A digital identity can be defined as: “a set of claims made by one digital subject about itself or another digital subject”. These technologies are closely related to the creation of trust in the Internet.
This is a contemporary issue, at the cutting edge of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). The more that the Internet expands, the more it becomes relevant. The Boston Consultancy Group foresees that there will be 3.0 billion users of Internet by the year 2016, all at risk of identity theft and hacking.
Why do we deal with digital identity?
A paradigmatic change
The Internet is a technological innovation that brought about a phenomenal social and economic change in a relatively short time. Some of our basic concepts and assumptions have been shaken by the Internet. Social habits that were the norm, such as the protection of privacy, have given place to an unprecedented public display of people’s personal profiles and images.
Using the Internet is simple. People “surf” the Internet with ease, ignoring what is happening while they are connected. The truth is that you provide as much information about yourself as you get from the Internet. The problem is that you do not know who knows what. The odds are, they know much more than what you ever imagined or wished them to know.
The problem arises from the fact that interconnectivity, the very essence of the Internet and some of its fundamental principles: openness, suppleness, no-state control, the ecosystem that David D. Clark, so well captured when he said: “we believe in rough consensus and the running code”; leaves a lot of space for evil-intentioned or dubious practices.
Who are you in the Internet?
- The end user
- an IP number (IP for Internet Protocol – learn more about it at www.myipnumber.com)
- a logged in subject
- a signed-in person
- a user name
- a passworded individual (most likely, with multiple passwords, most of them weak and many forgotten)
- a mail box address (or several e-mail addresses)
- a PIN enabled user (PIN for Personal Identification Number)
- the ultimate receiver
But so are millions more!
Hey… we are talking to you, the end user!
Human interactions occur in Internet by using a technology that blurs distances and creates a different type of presence: a digital presence. The problem is that the parameters of the digital world are fundamentally different to those of the physical world… In other words, in the Internet you never know exactly with whom you are dealing unless you use a precise set of procedures and technologies. Those procedures and technologies are what digital identity management is all about.
Are there people at the other end?
Interactions, transactions and communications take place in Internet among billions of human beings and thousands and thousands of computer networks. The term coined to describe this new reality is cyberspace, because we are talking of a limitless virtual surface ruled by a few principles that provide a lot of freedom, and the opportunity for unpunished anonymity. This has brought about exponential progress for humankind, but risks are also growing exponentially: identity theft, “phishing” and pharming of information for unlawful purposes, spreading spyware, the collection of huge amounts of personal data without the individual users being aware of it and you name it.
 Cameron, Kim. The Laws of Identity. Printable PDF.
 David D. Clark is one of Internet distinguished founders