Ethics, Technology and Identity

Speaking of my colleague Noëmi Manders-Huits, she is organizing an amazing looking conference on Ethics, Technology and Identity in Delft this June:

Information technology plays an increasingly important role in society and in human lives. Identity Management Technologies (e.g. biometrics, profiling, surveillance), in combination with a variety of identification procedures and personalized services are ubiquitous and pervasive. This calls for careful consideration and design of collecting, mining, storing and use of personal information.

Access, rights, responsibilities, benefits, burdens and risks are apportioned on the basis of identities of individuals. These identities are formed on the basis of personal data collected and stored and manipulated in databases. This raises ethical questions, such as obvious privacy issues, but also a host of identity related moral questions concerning (the consequences of) erroneous classifications and the limits of our capacity for self-presentation and self definition.

Which conceptions of identity are used when addressing ethical issues regarding information technology? How can the concepts of ‘identity’ and ‘identification’ be understood from a philosophical perspective when discussing morally problematic developments in information technology? What are the philosophical semantics pertaining to reference and identification which may help clarify ambiguities and ethical issues? How can we arrive at a normatively sound conception of personal identity as a starting point for the study of the ethical aspects of the (information) technology that is shaping our lives? This conference aims to discuss the theme of ‘identity’ in light of new (information) technology.

The conference website includes this beautiful chart by Fred Cavazza that maps how various aspects of our identity are fragmented (commodified?) online:

Digital Identity Mapping

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