I am involved in a project that enables you to manage your personal data in a controlled, trustworthy, and intelligent way in the maze of the online identity – a world in which you may wish to maintain non-linked and partially linked unique identities, each representing a different face of yourself.
The project develops a di.me platform with a prototype that incorporates user-control at the center of its design: a private server (this could even be your laptop) is your central data node in a decentralized network, and connects you to external services such as Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, etc. via distinct identities. By learning from your behaviour, it is able to adaptively respond to interactions and provide warning mechanisms when you try to share information that may have unintended consequences – for example, sharing that picture of you at a party with a Facebook group that includes, among other people, your boss.
Right now, we have a functional demonstration version. On it, you can create multiple personal profiles and identities, and decide which identity to use when interacting online with community functionality like messaging or sharing data. It is capable of detecting what situation you are in based on location data and the people near you, if you choose to enable these services, and use this information to provide relevant warnings and recommendations when you interact with those people through the demonstrational information management platform. Our current version includes both a browser client and an android app – not yet fully functional, but enough to demonstrate the power of the prototype.
We still have some issues to sort out – completing functionality so that key use cases are covered, improving performance, and expanding the proxy layer to include additional nodes and allow for an anonymous, highly secure user experience. We plan to open up for public testing in Spring of 2013. The prototype code, too, will be released as an open-source project, at that point. Of course, you'll be more than welcome to test, at no cost to you.
In case you're wondering about our motivation? Why, nothing other than tax money at work: we're operating under a publically funded project, with a vested objective in putting control of digital identity in the hands of users, in a way in which they can understand, despite the complexity of digital interactions, hidden policy loopholes, and all sorts of other consequences your average online teenager may never have thought of.
Project homepage: http://www.dime-project.eu/en/home/dime/project/contenido.aspx