Identity vs. Anonymity: April 22, 2020

We start out talking about the calls themselves, gathering feedback on how it’s going and what could be improved for our weekly calls. About 20 minutes in we start the topic of Identity vs. Anonymity. Two sets of notes. The first are our initial thoughts on where we want anonymity or privacy in our lives. After that Lauren took notes on the discussion.

See the video on dTube hosted on IPFS
https://d.tube/v/gracer000/QmQeZthzbegsFDKrZjsSTetEoReNipWJ4vMVDb3Ude9RE6

Call notes part 1
DAO Call April 22, 2020

Grace

Interested in distributed governance: no fork situations, like people living in physical communities. Someone came to me wanting to tokenize the Amazon. Community currencies for the people living near there. I have been teaching a currency course to some young people. It’s been super eye-opening to me.

Livia

I’m in Cairo right now, and the situation here isn’t as chaotic as in the rest of the world. I haven’t been diving into too many new projects, but have been into gift communities with women, and it has given me insights

Lauren

Co-founder of CICOLAB and works in collective intelligence, currently cooking up a new session.

Anja

A lawyer, creating stuff between lawyers and systems thinkers. Creating database between Covid people.

Bill

Based in North Carolina. Former corporate lawyer, has worked in politics. Has been bui8lding decentralized technology. Political orgs, nonprofits, decentralized social movements. ILnterested in DAO and dGov. Spent a lot of time thinking about that.

Michal

Trying to do his personal time off. The week prior, had a large event with 4-5,000 people. I did a project with a friend of mine, and we are doing other projects, and with blockchain: the space is rapidly changing, so doubled down on product. No mindspace for dGov recently.

Grace

What’s working and not working about these calls? I’d like to hear from people.

Anja

I can’t even believe that this has been 3 months. I haven’t been present on the last two calls because of overbooking. The new flow of people that I have seen on the first couple of calls brought some new ideas. Some Zoom calls have breakout rooms and those are really effective.

Michal

I think that there are some insights coming together, which is great. I like free-flowing sessions, but I like having a tangible outcome.

Grace

For me as the organizer, I love the quality of the people. What’s tought is organizing this myself. I find it hard to publicize. When you are having a party, you think that you invited 30 people and only 6 people showed up. I’m worried that less people are showing up

Lauren

The core group that shows up is pretty amazing.

Michal

Thanks for sharing. You say, Grace, that you don’t feel like you are succeeding. What does success look like?

Grace

Having new people show up opens up the conversation. I alway want dGov to be a community that lots of people can’t rely on. I see that there is a group of people in the world who have really breakthrough ideas of what governance could look like. What’s missing for me is having more people more consistently. There is a major split between those who want to talk about dFi and others.

Anja

We come together because one thing that unites us is governance. We are aware of something much bigger than our own project. Having these calls every week: this is my safe spot. People have brilliant ideas and I want to have them.

Grace

Livia and Bill, what did you come for?

Livia

This is my second time. I was feeling very burned out after my previous job and didn’t want to think about anything technical.

Bill

I have intended to join for the last several weeks. I came to the group and originally joined because most of the DAO people are very focused on the dFi applications of DAOs. I wanted to be with people who were thinking broader. New ways to use DAOs and new ideas of dGov.

Grace

Identity vs. Anonymity. – Shared thoughts document

Grace:

  • Reading the news: I would like to know what the source is of the information
  • When looking at someone who is an “expert” in a realm, I would like more information of how they got to be an expert.
  • In my life I would like people to know my expertise, but not my financial situation.
  • As I am thinking about community governance: I don’t need to know someone’s name or true identity, but I do need to know their interest. For example, if they are the owner of the pesticide company, that is a particular perspective when we talk about agriculture. If they are a landlord who owns property in a city, it is different than if they are the person who really lives in the city and rents the apartment. I would want to know that if I were looking at people’s proposals to solve some problem, or their opinion on a discussion boad.
  • At this point I feel my own opinion about myself is hopelessly tainted. I have the sense of a kind of constant terror about what corporations and governments know about me, and a helplessness about it.
  • For a long time I have been careful about how I present myself in social media and I feel like in some ways just being controlling of that information has distorted who I am.
  • In thinking about identity of people using a community currency, the reputation of someone in paying is important when doing a business transaction-- but again, in what ways to we allow people to know about one another’s’ financial situation? Maybe that is a good thing so a community can support the weakest
  • It occurs to me that being secret about your money allows people to get rich without suffering the social consequences
  • How can we help the weak in our communities without knowing who they are, and how can we know who they are without causing shame?

MM:

  • Q: Why identity VS anonymity? Can’t we have both?
  • :-1:
    • Identity an issue @ Access to the legacy systems (unbanked)
      • Give your address / postal code to buy anything in the UK, or credit card details to shop online
    • Anonymity vs. power to take advantage of information (e.g. government)
    • Reporting requirements, when you’re running a project or a company
  • :+1:
    • Identity of people online / who’s who, especially when posting contentious information
    • Keeping people anonymous when it might cause them personal harm (though there might be edge cases as exceptions to this rule) — the Chinese researcher vs. pedophile

Livia -

  • What makes a public figure?

What are the aspects we need to know about each other for security reasons.

Media outlets should have anonymity protection to journalists so the facts aren’t compromised.

Lauren

Anonymity issue with Kourtaroo DAO we were planning
I would like my internet activities and personal interactions (like say, my conversations on Telegram etc) to be private…like, I would not like to have a corporate company sell all the searches that I have done or something.

With a lot of social media stuff I usually prefer to be public, but that’s largely a function that I am not yet living in a place where I am likely to get in trouble for my views.

Bill:

Where I Iike to be anonymous:

  • Don’t like the idea of identity, PII being known by commercial entities for ad serving purposes (i.e. Facebook).
  • When participating in certain political causes that might be considered “radical” (i.e. if I’m giving to or contributing to an environmentalist cause where maybe the group is involved in more direct action sort of activities, like an Extinction Rebellion…though I do wish there were a proof-of-activism / proof-of-human to create trusts in these networks. This is something I think a lot about with my startup Peeps.

Where I like to be pseudonymous

  • Most social networks and chat groups. I choose this path, because I like the idea of contributing under a pseudonym during the early days to get a sense of the community before revealing ID.
  • Do wish there were a better way of doing credentialing that doesn’t tie easily back to actual identity.

Where I like to be fully-IDed:

  • On professional networks and for professional purposes. This way I know where people are coming from in terms of expertise and background and they have the ability to see my background and expertise.

Sid:

Identity: I like to think of it as context. And the more context I am provided with, the more likely I am to engage more deeply, and across dimensions. It’s critical that this information provided is captured in an agent-centric manner. For example, I don’t think there can be an absolute answer to the question: ‘Is Sid punctual’ - it needs to be offered keeping in mind the underlying context. (Agent-centric reputation systems are a great way to design for this)

Anonymity: To me it means I have no context about the agent I’m engaging with. I don’t think of it as ‘identity’. So if I don’t have much context, my engagement is likely to be more transactional, or across one dimension.

===================
Call notes continued

This week we are talking about identity vs. anonymity. Pseudonymous identities: the internet days of “no one knows you are a dog” are gone.

We fill out the following doc: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1tyoPNRw6T5Kdxd5kneqEyQvGYdvIqqpNjCovmSpmR7A/edit#

Bill

We widely believe that corporations are taking in too much information about us. I’m in a bunch of Telegram groups with people with weird handles, and I don’t know when they are proposing things if they have the expertise to do stuff. I would like to know that they are actually an expert when the say, “I am going to program this bot.” How do you connect to proof of human or expertise?

Anja

I ran into the sam problem when I renamed my Telegram to “Sketchy as Fuck.” I had a discussion with one guy that was a scammer. I turned him around and he ended up apologizing to me. I organized a bunch of lawyers on telegram.

Grace

That’s the way many of us feel about lawyers: sketchy as fuck.

Bill

That’s why I am a recovering lawyer.

Anja

This gave me a lot of food for thought: how we should have different ID for real official stuff, like the government, and then a public picture, like Twitter and LinkedIn. Not using my real name, because I am seeing the options that I am giving to people, because then they can trace what I am doing and use that against others (not myself). Are we rightfully thinking about private/public life, or should there be many different personas? We should make it much harder to trace it back. They should be able to merge the identities together.

Grace

Holochain is setting up its system where you are the commander of your identity. My family still calls me by my given name. We all act differently in different places. You can release for what you want to release. As I go into the pub, I tell you that I am over 21, and the guy sees it, but he doesn’t have that data after that. The company that I do business with don’t need to know my name and address, just that I have the money. I want to show my persona that says that I am an expert in this, but not under my real name.

Michal

I have a fear of this expert stuff. How can I prove I am expert? I can’t. A lot of people have the DK effect, being overly confident even when they are not, and less confident the more they know. There is this woman Tony, who might be dead because of Doxxing, and maybe because of what you are doing someone won’t like it.

Livia

It’s interesting that anonymity comes from a defensive position. I was getting confused on what I wanted anonymous.

Grace

I think about that in different ways. Privacy is very slippery. Some of the things we are private about, we want to be private…I don’t want my mom to know how I spend my money. If I lost a water bottle, I didn’t want my husband to know that I had to buy another one, just wanted to replace it anonymously.

Anja

It’s maybe about not having the energy and the time to explain ourselves. I don’t really believe in privacy, but I don’t think that we are ready as a society to have everything open. We will end up having people ask us personal questions about our values, and I don’t have the energy to justify what I just did. I would rather keep things private not to have to explain everything all the time.

Livia

A husband might be looking at the receipts because he is actually hiding his receipts.

Grace

We are talking about something that’s fundamentally important to humanity. All of our relationships are fundamentally about what we tell a person about us and how we dress with that person. What story I tell you about is my human right.

We have a female CEO that had a “dance studio”, and someone published something about her and we had to deal with that for two weeks, even though it wouldn’t be a big deal if she were a man.

Sid

It’s really hard to trace and track down people. That’s just fantastic, because it is the exact opposite of the internet. It’s opening up patterns that what is real in society. Basically, leading us to discoverability through reputation. It’s interesting. We are at the early stages of discovering what that means. “Distributed social intelligence” instead of AI. There is no centralized resource of what everyone has said. Reputation based discovery: sacred.capital you can find more about that. We have other documents about it. What’s beautiful about Holochain is that it is agent-centric. I have these little shards of data that I carry from app to app. I have dinner at Grace’s, and then I meet Lauren, and we carry little shards as we hop from community to community. Reputation world: you can stake your reputation. My meme reputation is totally different than the way that I am with my parents. That’s contextual staking. It’s really important with distributed environments. I feel like it’s shitty: you enter a Telegram chatroom and expose yourself to so much. Livia mentioned that we seek anonymity because we are trying to protect ourselves.

Grace

What does it mean to stake in this context?

Thomas

I’ll link my new persona from the knitting club to the tech club, or not link to that.

Sid

There’s this concept in reputation: you can’t spend your reputation, but you can stake it. If the toothpaste is great, your reputation rises as a dentist. Non-zero sum aspect to reputation. The creator or founder of a community ahs the option to ask people to place at stake their reputation. Like you ask comics to place their comedic rep at stake.

Thomas

I am a toxic loser over there, and then I come over here to get a fresh start….

Sid

People who enter with a lot of context are more easily discoverable. That’s the only thing that you can do in a decentralized context.

Grace

If I recommend Sid as awesome and he blows the job, my recommendation will go down.

Sid

We have never had a formal economic language for that.
https://www.sacred.capital/ https://sacred-capital.gitbook.io/sacred-capital/

Grace

When you go into a new community to a skateboarding community, you have some reputation, but if you go from skateboarding to rollerblading, your rep transfers. Each community can input that reputation in the way that they interpret that.

Sid

Creating a language for that, that’s the only way it will get traction. We have had interesting conversations with Asian governments that are doing these social credit scores. We think that people will be weary of that.

Martin

When I looked at htis, I was coming from the perspective of viable systems, and PlanetMakers Cooperatives, which found patterns across cooperatives, and one of the key aspects of that is how you build recursive reputation and trust. Patterns of economic value. How do you scale patterns? I thought Sacred Capital was a step in that direction. It’s about recursion, and about patterns of scale.

Thomas

I am wondering about Dunbar’s number, and that we can’t truly track people over 150 people. If I have 2,000 hours in a year, and I am spending one hour a month with you to get to know you….reputation is about building internet impressions of each other.

Sid

As someone brought up in South Asian culture, everything is navigated through social fabric. Norms and rules play a very important role. I can have access to capital because people place their reputation at stake for me. These systems are also awful…I don’t hold these notions of people being warm and friendly all the time. They are prone to patriarchy, tribalism. Now we can articulate the grammar for each community in a formal way.

Livia

We shared where we were at, best practices for future calls, people gave a few suggestions. We had an amazing conversations with a lot of different perspectives.