Alien Anthropology

Identity Theft

Identity theft is so rampant now that the oversupply of data makes it quite cheap to purchase.

Context: Personal data of thousands of Australians sold for just $US60

This is a fascinating problem. In one dimension of analysis, people are more than happy to offer up vast swathes of personal information through the putatively “social” media channels of our era. Another vector is the contextual necessity for participatory, representational abstraction of personal identity as a matter of continued existence in the rapidly-evolving and complex information environment we are all experiencing. A third factor (among many more) is that of the relentless self-propagation of the disembodied abstractions, concepts and information systems themselves.

There is no one solution in this problem-space, as much because there is no one causal or attributive factor. An intuition: attempts to retrospectively remediate the relentless haemorrhaging of personal data through policy will follow the path of most lumbering bureaucratic or administrative leviathans when addressing accelerating technological change – too little, too late and ultimately no more effective than King Canute was in his hydrophobic endeavour. The personal information cat is well and truly out of the bag and economic incentives possess far more gravity here than do concerns of personal privacy, security or safety.

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