First Law of Identity

Here is the First Law of Identity as expressed by Anne Cavoukian, Privacy Commissioner of Ontario. The “technology” law is on the left; the “privacy-embedded” form is on the right:

AND CONSENT  Technical identity systems must only reveal information identifying a user with the user's consent.

Technical identity systems must only reveal information identifying a user with the user's consent. Personal control is fundamental to privacy, as is freedom of choice. Consent is pivotal to both.>Consent must be invoked in the collection, use and disclosure of one's personal information. Consent must be informed and uncoerced, and may be revoked at a later date.   


 I'll be publishing Dr. Cavoukian's version of all the laws over the next little while.  Readers new to this discussion might want to take a look at the Laws of Identity, a technology paper which I think rings increasingly true and provides context about the intersection between identity and virtual reality.  Amongst other things, it posits a model in which the user is an active and central participant. 

In the brochure published by the commissioner, my original statement of each law appears on the left page, while the “privacy embedded” version appears on the right.  It is kind of Talmudic (or should I say McLuhanesque?), and demonstrates the intersection of the purely technical with a policy-oriented view.  I'm very excited by this work, which clearly takes the Laws of Identity forward.

The full title of the brochure is, “7 Laws of Identity – The Case for Privacy-Embedded Laws of Identity in the DIgital Age” (the illustration above is taken from that publication). 

The Privacy Commissioner's Whitepaper is an equally important document that drills into the notion of an Identity Metasystem and is intended to bring about collaboration between the privacy community and identity technologists as we build it.  

The paper version of the brochure is really a beautiful production.  It can be ordered by calling 1-416-326-3333 / 1-800-387-0073 or by writing to Beyond that, here is the press statement issued to announce Anne's work, along with the powerpoint of her presentation to the IAPP.

What a powerhouse she is.  She is the thing history is made of.

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Kim Cameron

Work on identity.

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