Smile Please! It’s a revolutionary act.

Actually, you're too late.According to the guardian's brilliant launch issue (my only, mild reservation is whether the w...

September 13, 2005

Actually, you’re too late.

According to the guardian’s brilliant launch issue (my only, mild reservation is whether the weight of pictures makes it too much like a weekend paper, and therefore too slow to consume) Sunday was you last chance to smile in your passport photo.

As a prelude to introducing facial recognition technology at airports, (and indeed sweet shops – who knows where this will lead?), the government now requires us to adopt a neutral facial expression in passport photos.

Never renowned as a nation of smilers, this is one more nail in the coffin of playfulness.
Allison Pearson’s comment: ‘If you look like your passport photo, you need to see a doctor.’
will henceforth be a medical fact.

The reasoning is presumably that faced with a beaming smile, the device may reach a 50% error rate instead of a mere 30%…

This is yet one more argument for citizens to press to control of their own identity, both personal digital identity, and more importantly, their physical identity.

On the physical front, I hear that DNA profiling is being made available in various individual-centric applications – beyond paternity testing, through corpse identification and even building security.

According to the Washington Post: ‘Surrender your DNA and a snoop can discover your innermost genetic secrets — your ancestry, genetic defects and predispositions to certain diseases.

If this comes to pass, “We will have strong genetic privacy laws, but those laws will allow consumers to “voluntarily” surrender their information in the course of applying for work or pleading for health care. A genetic marketplace not unlike today’s consumer information business will emerge, swarming with health insurers attempting to prune out risky individuals, drug companies seeking customers and employers managing potential worker injury liability.
On an elective basis, for example, for blood donors or organ donors, the ability to near-perfectly authenticate the identity of an individual.” is a powerful social and personal benefit.

DNA may seem like the gold standard of identity…but it is actually just one more another silver bullet destined for the jeweller’s melting pot. It is mere adornment.

It identifies what we are; but not who we are.

The future of ID management will be far more complex; far more application-specific, and far more chaordic than the technophiles believe. Applied identity; functional identity; role-based identity…these are the crackable and valuable propositions.

Actually, analogue, social solutions may be far more powerful…more on this soon…

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