BYOI (Bring Your Own Identity): The Tree of Identities

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Listen to the trees as they sway in the wind.
Their leaves are telling secrets. Their bark sings songs of olden days as it grows around the trunks. And their roots give names to all things.
Their language has been lost.
But not the gestures.

– Vera Nazarian, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration

Treeof Identity

Think at yourself, as individual, as physical person. Think at your self and try to picture yourself as tree. Try to describe your decisions, your social interactions. your dotted connected points as part of the tree that is you. Sounds familiar isn’t it? now think for a moment how to describe this into a digital world is still you the Tree or is your digital identity? Are the roots still you or are the multiple digital identities that makes “you”?

I’ve often blogged around digital immigrants and native digital as  I did around the concept of an Identity as the description of the sum of its identities no matter if digital or not. Yes I just write “no matter if digital or not” because, believe it or not, we not living in a black or white world but in a spectrum of billions of colors where there’s no real separation between the pMe ( the physical Me) and the dMe (the digital Me) till when…well till when the dMe is something else.

 

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a scenario in which objects, animals or people are provided with unique identifiers and the ability to automatically transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction. IoT has evolved from the convergence of wireless technologies, micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) and the Internet.
A thing, in the Internet of Things, can be a person with a heart monitor implant, a farm animal with a biochip transponder, an automobile that has built-in sensors to alert the driver when tire pressure is low — or any other natural or man-made object that can be assigned an IP address and provided with the ability to transfer data over a network. So far, the Internet of Things has been most closely associated with machine-to-machine (M2M) communication in manufacturing and power, oil and gas utilities

Whatis.com – http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/Internet-of-Things

So if I am assuming that my tree is made of:

tree =pMe ^ (dMe1,dMe2,…dMe1-n)

for non-English readers or those who’s need (like me) an image to picture this simple equation let me show you the parts of a tree.

parts_of_a_tree_bw

I am assuming that the roots of the tree may be described as:

Roots: all the dMe who may have a PII (Personal Identifiable Information) element who may be conducible to the whole or part of the pMe . Roots may or may be not interconnected each other but necessarly has to “report” to the trunk.

I’ll describe the trunk as follow:

Trunk: the sum of information who as directly related to pMe. These information’s define the whole concept of pMe in terms of define the physical part of Me. I am not a digital device as in the #IoT definition but still I have multiple dME (digital Me) interconnected to myself toward I’m dependent on but not exclusively or mutually exclusive. in simpler words if I lose a root (theft of an identity anyone?) the “injury” will be immediately reflected to the trunk but not necessarily will impact the other roots or another part of the tree.

If we look at a semi-digitalized world we see as the simple equation describe almost completely our tree, the branches and the leaves are neither more than “roots” with no PII in them who may be freely added or removed (remember? leaves falls in autumn and re-born in spring) based on the evolution of the digital world where we live.

…but…

I’ve said my dMe’s  containing PII information’s are my digital roots. It was not a casual choice. roots are protected by the ground, this way they may grow strong and give “energy” to the trunk. I don’t want my medical exams to be shared over the internet neither my credit card details but I’m happy that some of the information’s may flow running “through” the trunk to the branches and the leafs to complete a real time diagnosis of my health status or fill  the payment check out information’s to buy the last album of my favorite rock band.

in a more “romantic” way:

The sapwood is the pipeline that carries water and nutrients from the roots up to the leaves. As new layers develop, the inner layers die and become heartwood.

The sapwood is neither than the way we pass a “protected” information in a form usable by an app or a website. Credit Card information’s are not shared and the transaction itself is encrypted but the numbers or the password we use to fill in the payment form on the checkout webpage of a web store are the sapwood we use to buy the item and “energize” our life.

so dMe  should be divided in multiple layers defined in a way similar to this:

  • dMe who carry sensitive information’s and who consequently must be protected or at least not exposed. Those must reside under a protected environment so are part of the roots family. Let’s call them rdMe.
  • dMe who carry a direct interconnection with the trunk and consequently the rdMe. Those identities are, by definition, exposed to the natural environment and are the main interconnection between the trunk and the leaves and contribute to growth of the crown and the tree itself. Number and extension could vary based on many environmental variables but at least one of them must exist always otherwise the trunk will be not able to growth correctly. These identities could be defined as bdMe or in a less criptical way as the branches of the tree.

It is quite obvious that a rdMe  and a bdMe cannot be directly connected. First of all because there’s not a real connection between them, the first ,the root, provide a set of information usable by the branch. This set of information’s could be in the form of a raw data or a meta-attribute who may be aggregate with other meta-attributes to manage the context of the request. This interpolated connectivity is necessary by the trunk but only  as the resultant set of information useful at the time of the “need” (request). The full stack of information would be unusable, redundant to both the trunk and the branch or even worse potentially dangerous for the trunk itself.

I may then define dMe as:

{dMe} = bdMe,bdMe+1,…,rdMe

or in a more descriptive way as:

Branches: A branch is the interconnection between the leaves and the trunk. In a digital environment could be related as the combination of the applicative code, the identifiable information and the protocol used to interpolate the roots usable information’s with the appropriate target requests. In other word it’s the bus (device) the pMe relay on to execute an operation on a digital target (website,application,etc…).

Leaves: Leaves could be defined as the terminal part of a branch. The nature of leaves makes them extremely exposed to the natural environment, their primary scope is to offer a way to interchange data between the tree and the external world. Think at the whole process of the chlorophyll. The sun, the oxygen and the leaves cooperate to transform a set of external “information’s” in a useful “information” for the tree. The result is a complete exchange of “information’s” between the tree and the ecosystem where it lives.

iot

#IoT image from: http://www.informationbuilders.com/sites/www.informationbuilders.com/files/images/l2/iot.jpg

I’ve described so far a Tree of Identities complex but simpler in its definition. I would be tempted to stop here and leave with you with this image above but I will not. Let me again take the Internet of Things definition:

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a scenario in which objects, animals or people are provided with unique identifiers and the ability to automatically transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction. IoT has evolved from the convergence of wireless technologies, micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) and the Internet.
A thing, in the Internet of Things, can be a person with a heart monitor implant, a farm animal with a biochip transponder, an automobile that has built-in sensors to alert the driver when tire pressure is low — or any other natural or man-made object that can be assigned an IP address and provided with the ability to transfer data over a network. So far, the Internet of Things has been most closely associated with machine-to-machine (M2M) communication in manufacturing and power, oil and gas utilities

Whatis.com – http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/Internet-of-Things

I have a simple question:

What kind of Tree are we in the Internet of Things?

A device, in the internet of things should be, by the definition above:

  • a device(a thing) with a unique identifier
  • a device or a human with a device (again a thing) that as an assigned IP able to transfer data over a network to another device or person or a person with a device (another thing)
  • a device (a thing) who may communicate with other devices that are connected to the same unique identity

But we said earlier in this post that the trunk is the only real unique identity here (pMe) while every other ID is just a sub-ID of the primary ID (dMe). But a device that could be uniquely identifiable and that do not carry on any of my dMe and who can access to the data of pMe directly and could use a branch (the IP and the transmission protocol) to exchange information with another environmental device and, in the very end, could re-use the raw information’s manipulating them and showing them on a dashboard is a Tree where:

  • the device itself is a trunk
  • the capability of access to the raw data of the pMe directly  (its sensors) are the roots
  • the capability of transmission are the branches
  • the dashboard that show the manipulated results are the leaves

So we have now a primary Identity pMe defined already by a certain number of dMe but who contain a, maybe even more complex system of sub-identities let’s call them IDoT (Idenitity of Things) defined as:

IDoT: Identity of Things are all those Identities that may be reconducted to a pMe (Physical Identity) and that has the capability to store,use or re-use any information from the leaves, the branches or the roots of the pMe trunk.

I bet you’re trying to figure out the image of the tree now. Let me help you, you’re looking only at the whole picture but with the definition above you should move your attention to the details at this point.

leaf-veins-in-detail-f4 kosovo-root-pavilion_detail

Can you see now where the #IoT will take place? Can you see the importance of both the roots your tree is built on and the leaves who define your identity in its whole definition?

The Human Identity in the Internet of Things era is a sum of multiple identities made by unique identifiers who complete, extend and sometime may disrupt the human identity if not correctly addressed.

I leave you with what I started conscious that you may already see where the needs of a Identity Management of Things solution could fit in the tree…

Listen to the trees as they sway in the wind.
Their leaves are telling secrets. Their bark sings songs of olden days as it grows around the trunks. And their roots give names to all things.
Their language has been lost.
But not the gestures.

– Vera Nazarian, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration

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