“I am who I am”

Gwyneth Llewelyn ID Card

So, identity validation is upon us “soon”. Having let the message sink in — after all, it’s no surprise, Linden Lab has been talking about it for quite a while — it’s time to try to understand the implications. In other words, like LL likes to call it, a post-mortem analysis of what this might mean for our fellow residents — the kind of thinking that sadly LL does not do a priori, or, if they do, they almost never tell us why.

The Cultural Issues

Regrettably I’m not really the best person in the world to talk about “identity validation” in general. My country, Portugal, has a very weird relationship with “identity”. Having survived 50 years of what now is called a “benign dictatorship”, the current democratic constitution of 1974 actually forbids the State to correlate any individual data, and all State-controlled identification documents are in separate databases with different ID numbers (unlike more rational countries like Spain, who have only a single number). Legally, or rather, constitutionally, they cannot be held in the same place. So Portuguese citizens (and legal residents) have at least a tax number (which is freely given to anyone, really), a social security number, a voter’s card, and a national ID card number. Everybody who has signed-in for high school will have a national ID card (and since going to high school is mandatory, this means that everybody over the age of nine will have a card). Everybody who works will have a tax number and a social security number, and this means that technically all adults — and also many teenagers, since you can legally get a job if you’re 16 — will have those other cards as well. All have different numbers and are emitted by different ministeries, using incompatible databases — from the early paranoia days when democracy was young and citizens feared the totalitarian control of the State.

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