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By Gary T. Marx
"You ought to have some papers to show who
you are." The police officer advised me.
"I do not need any paper. I know who I
am," I said.
"Maybe so. Other people are also
interested in knowing who you are."--B. Traven, The Death Ship
The documentation of individual identity, whether by the state, private organizations or individuals, can be located within a broader set of questions concerning identity and anonymity. 1 This topic involves the sociology of personal information and of information more generally. These in turn nestle within the wider field of the sociology of knowledge. Current developments in the area of personal identification are a small part of broader changes in contemporary means of information collection, processing and communication.
My interest in the topic grows out of research on the "new surveillance" which includes technologies such as computer matching and profiling, video cameras, electronic location monitoring and biometric devices which have the potential to identify individuals, independent of their will and even knowledge. 2 Developments in biometric identification and smart card technology and debates over national id cards and privacy are also elements of this.
The extractive power of the new surveillance leads to value and policy questions such as "under what conditions is it right or wrong to collect various kinds of personal information with and without consent?", "when should individuals be compelled to reveal and when should they have a right to conceal personal information?" While these are normative questions, answers to them are improved with a firm empirical grounding with respect to questions such as "what are the major types of identity knowledge?", "how are requests for the collection of personal information socially patterned?", "how does this differ across countries and cultures?", and as we move into a (in some ways) more fragmented and global world in which traditional borders are weakened, "how are identification processes changing and how do individuals respond?"
In this paper I lay out some of the conceptual landscape and some research issues. The emphasis is on the cultural level --on normative expectations and justifications, more than on describing actual behavior. I deal with individuals rather than group or organizational identities (of course these maybe linked, as with infiltrators using pseudonyms working for false front intelligence agencies).
To ask about conditions and processes of identification also involves asking (if sometimes implicitly) about non-identification. Identifiability at one extreme can be contrasted with anonymity at the other. Describing a variety of kinds of identity knowledge and approaching these as distinct continua brings us closer to the messiness of the empirical world and suggests variation to be explained.
I will identify seven types of identity knowledge (or ignorance). The requirement or at least possibility of identification, must be considered alongside of the requirement or possibility of non-identification. I specify social settings where the opposing values of anonymity or identity are required by law, policy, or social expectations. The final section of the paper argues that the forms, uses and meaning of identity appear to be undergoing profound changes and discusses issues for research.
A. 7 Types of Identity
Identity knowledge has multiple components and there are degrees of identifiability. Among 7 broad types of identity knowledge are: 1) legal name 2) locatability 3) pseudonyms that can be linked to legal name and/or locatability --literally a form of pseudo-anonymity 4) pseudonyms that can not be linked to other forms of identity knowledge --the equivalent of "real" anonymity (except that the name chosen may hint at some aspects of "real" identity, as with undercover agents encouraged to take names close to their own) 5) pattern knowledge 6) social categorization 7) symbols of eligibility/non-eligibility.
1) identification may involve a person's legal name. Even though names such as John Smith may be widely shared, the assumption is made that there is only one John Smith born to particular parents at a given time and place. Even twins have different first names and birth times. Name usually involves connection to a biological or social lineage and can be a key to a vast amount of other information. A name tends to convey a literal meaning (e.g., the child of Joseph and Mary). This aspect of identification is usually the answer to the question "who are you?"
The use of first names only, as was said to traditionally be the case for both providers and clients in houses of illrepute, can offer partial anonymity. The question of whether full, last, first, or no name is expected in social settings may appear to be a trivial issue that only a sociologist could love. But it is in fact the kind of little detail in which big social meanings may reside.
2) identification can refer to a person's address. This involves location and "reach ability", whether in actual or cyberspace (telephone number, mail or E-mail address, an account number). This need not involve knowing the actual legal/birth identity or even a pseudonym. But it does involve the ability to locate and take various forms of action such as blocking, granting access, delivering or picking up, charging, penalizing, rewarding or apprehending. It answers a "where" rather than a "who" question. The "where" question need not be linked with the "who" question. Thus the identity of fugitives is known but not how they can be reached. Even with both known they may be unreachable, as when there is no extradition treaty or they are otherwise protected. For example the U.S. knew that Robert Vesco was in Cuba but was unable to arrest him there. Address need not be unique and can be complicated by multiple users of the same address.
3) identification may involve unique alphabetic, numerical or other symbols such as a social security number or biometric patterns or pseudonyms which can be linked back to a person or an address under restricted conditions. A trusted intermediary and confidentiality are often involved here. These in effect create a buffer and are a compromise solution in which some protection is given to literal identity or location, while meeting needs for
some degree of identification. As with name, the symbol is intended to refer to only one individual (but unlike a given name which can be shared, letters and numbers are sufficient as unique identifiers). Whereas when there is more than one John Smith in question unique identity requires matching to other aspects of identity such as birth date and parents or address). Examples include the number given persons calling tip hot-lines for a reward, anonymous bank accounts, on-line services that permit the use of pseudonyms in chat rooms and on bulletin boards and representations of bio-metric patterns. These may be linked back to a legal/birth identity.
4) identification may involve symbols, names or pseudonyms which can not in the normal course of events be linked back to a person or an address by intermediaries. This may be because of a protective policy against collecting the information. For example in some states those tested for AIDS are given a number and receive results by calling in their number without ever giving their name or address. Or it may be because a duped audience does not know the person they are dealing with is using fraudulent identification, --for example spies, undercover operatives and con-artists.
5) identification may be made by reference to distinctive appearance or behavior patterns of persons (apart from whether actual identity or locatability are known). They may be unknown because of the impersonal conditions of urban life or secrecy. Being unnamed is not necessarily the same as being unknown. Some information is always evident in face-to-face interaction because we are all ambulatory autobiographies continuously and unavoidably emitting data for other's senses and machines. The uncontrollable leakage of some information is a condition of physical and social existence. This has been greatly expanded by new technologies.
A distinction Erving Goffman makes between knowing a person in the sense of being acquainted with them and knowing of them applies here. The patterned conditions of urban life mean that we identify many persons we don't "know" (that is we know neither their names, nor do we know them personally). Instead we know some form of their social signature -whether it is face, a voice heard over mass media or on the phone, or some distinctive element of style. In everyday encounters (say riding the subway each day at 8 am) we may come to "know" other riders in the sense of recognizing them.
Style issues fit here. Skilled graffiti writers may become well known by their "tags" (signed nicknames) or just their distinctive style, even as their real identity is unknown to most persons. 3 Persons making anonymous postings to a computer bulletin board may come to be "known" by others because of the content, tone or style of their communications. Similarly detectives may attribute re-occurring crimes to a given individual even though they don't know the person's name (e.g., the Unabomber, the Son of Sam, the Red Light Bandit, Jack-the-Ripper). There are also pro-social examples such as anonymous donors with a history of giving in predictable ways which makes them "known" to charities. They are anonymous in the sense that their name and location is not known, but they are different from the anonymous donor who gives only once and leaves few tracks.
6) identification may involve social categorization. Many sources of identity are social and do not differentiate the individual from others sharing them (e.g., gender, ethnicity, religion, age, class, education, region, sexual orientation, linguistic patterns, organizational memberships and classifications, health status, employment, leisure activities, friendship patterns). Simply being at certain places at particular times or associating with particular kinds of people (note the folk wisdom that "birds of a feather flock together" or "you are known by the company you keep") can also be a key to presumed identity.
Of particular interest is the expansion of the abstract categorizations noted by Foucault associated with the people-processing of the modern state. These involve technical measurements and locating the individual relative to others. Such profiled identities (credit risk, IQ, SAT scores, life style categorization for mass marketing etc) often involve predictions about future behavior. They may or may not be known to individuals, and if known may be at variance with how persons see themselves. The issue of the "fit" between the identity imputations of others and how one sees one's self is a nice research question. The gap is likely to be greatest with negative risk assessments as with banks, insurance companies and potential employers.
7) identification may involve certification in which the possession of knowledge (secret passwords, codes) or artifacts (tickets, badges, tattoos, uniforms) or skills (performances such as the ability to swim) labels one as a particular kind of person to be treated in a given away. This is categorical and identifies their possessor as an eligible or ineligible person with no necessary reference to anything more (although the codes and symbols can be highly differentiated with respect to categories of person and levels of eligibility). This may be linked back to a unique person/place identity, but need not be. This is vital to contemporary discussions because it offers a way of balancing control of personal information with legitimate needs such as for reimbursement (e.g., toll roads, phones, photo-copy machines, subways) and excluding system abusers. Smart card technologies with encryption and segmentation make this form of increased importance.
Contexts of Concealment and Revelation
What is the ecology or field of identity revelation/concealment? How are these distributed in social space and time? What structures and processes can be identified? When and why does society require or expect (whether by laws, policies or manners) that various aspects of identity will not be revealed? Under what conditions does the opposite apply --that is, when is the revelation of the various aspects of identity expected by law, policy or custom?
The lists that follow, while not exhaustive, hopefully cover the most common contexts in which anonymity and identifiability are viewed as socially desirable. I have classified these by their major justifications. 4
1. Rationales in Support
of (full or partial) Anonymity
1) to facilitate the flow of information and communication on public issues (this is the "if you kill the messenger you won't hear the bad news" rationale.) Some examples:
8) to protect one's time, space and person from unwanted intrusions. For example:
11) to avoid persecution.
12) to enhance rituals, games, play and celebrations. Letting loose, pretending and playing new roles are seen as factors in mental and social health. Part of the fun and suspense of the game is not knowing who. For example:
15) traditional expectations. This is a bit different than the above because the custom that is honored does not appear to have emerged from a reasoned policy decision, but rather is an artifact of the way a technology developed or the way group life evolved. This then becomes associated with expectations about what is normal or natural, and hence expected and preferred.
The telephone is a good example. When Caller-id was announced there was significant public resistance because people were accustomed to being able to make a phone call without having to reveal their phone number (and all that could be associated with). However that was not the case historically where all calls had to go through an operator.
Mention may also be made of some related contexts in which anonymity is present simply because the conditions of complex urban life permit it. For example (absent the new technologies), not being easily identified by name or having to identify oneself when in public is the default condition -- whether sitting on a park bench, walking on a crowded street or cheering in a stadium.
Another environment where a degree of de facto anonymity exists is in being away from home --whether as a tourist, traveler, or expatriate. Not only is one less likely to be personally known but many of the symbols (accent, dress, body language) that present clues to identity will go uninterpreted or simply serve to put one in the broad class of foreigner. Since the stranger may be seeking this anonymity, locals may have an economic or political interest in granting it. It would be interesting to study isolated areas and frontier towns in this regard. Note places such as the small western town where the fugitive in the novel Falcon and the Snowman 8 was living when he was captured, in which there is a tradition of not asking who people were, or where they came from.
2. Rationales in Support
A consideration of contexts and rationales where anonymity is permitted or required must be balanced by a consideration of the opposite. When is identifiability required, expected or permitted?
The rationales here seem simpler, clearer and less disputed. While there are buffers and degrees of identification, the majority of interactions of any significance or duration tilt toward identification of at least some form. As Scottish moral philosophers such as David Hume argued, human sentiments and social needs favor it. It is more difficult to do ill to others when we know who they are and must face the possibility of confronting them. Mutual revelation is a sign of good faith which makes it easier to trust (not unlike the handshake whose origin reportedly was to show that one was not carrying a weapon). It is a kind of free sampling of one's inner-worth or an early showing of part of one's hand. It also makes possible reciprocity, perhaps the most significant of social processes.
Thinking of society without personal identities is like a modern building without a foundation. The number of contexts where it is expected and even required far exceeds those where its opposite is required or expected. Indeed failure to identify one's self often leads to suspicion rather than the reverse. As with the Lone Ranger we ask "who was that masked man?" Just try the simple experiment of wearing a hood or Halloween mask throughout the day and note how it will surface the usually tacit norms regarding identification and a variety of control responses.
Central to many of the contexts where some form of identifiability is required or at least expected we find:
1) to aide in accountability. Saints and those with strongly internalized moral codes respect the rules regardless of whether or not they are watched (or potentially locatable). But for others who can resist anything but temptation, especially if under cover of anonymity, this is less likely. Because individuals generally want to avoid negative sanctions and want others to think well of them, normative behavior is more likely when people are identifiable. One extreme form is the anti-mask laws of some states (adopted as an anti-KKK strategy). The numbers on police badges are intended to hold police accountable while creating a buffer in their personal life from irate citizens. In contrast are the names worn by airlines clerks and on the legitimacy-confirming badges of door-to-door solicitors. The current emphasis on identifying and tracking absent fathers with children supported by welfare is another example of accountability.
2) to judge reputation. In contrast to the small homogeneous group without strangers, mass impersonal societies rely on name and the records and recommendations it can be associated with, to determine personal qualities. In small communities where membership itself is a form of vouching, these are taken for granted.
3) to pay dues or receive just deserts. Reciprocity is among the most fundamental of social forms and it requires being able to locate those we interact with. An identity peg makes it possible to have guarantees (such as collateral for a loan), to extract payments (of whatever sort) and to distribute justice and rewards, although this need not always involve literal identity.
4) to aide efficiency and improve service. The modern ethos and competitive environments view knowledge as power and generate seemingly insatiable organizational appetites for personal information to serve organizational ends and in their words "to better serve the customer".
5) to determine bureaucratic eligibility --to vote, drive a car, fix the sink, cut hair, do surgery, work with children, collect benefits, enter or exit (whether national borders, bars or adult cinemas). Administrative needs in a complex division of labor require differentiation and complex norm enforcement, which in turn may depend on personal characteristics linked to name and place. A characteristic of modern society is ever increased differentiation and the proliferation of fine-grained categories for treating persons and of requirements for being able to perform various roles. This is believed to involve both efficiency and justice. These require unique identities, although not necessarily actual name. But the latter is seen to enhance validity beyond being an organizational marker (or in some cases skewer). Compare for example the evolution of the contemporary wallet with its space for multiple cards, with the paucity of identification documents required in the 19th century and earlier, simpler carrying devices.
6) to guarantee interactions that are distanced or mediated by time and space. This is the case with ordering by credit card or paying with a check rather than cash (of course various types of impersonal vouchers such as a postal mail order offer alternatives). However even in the latter case an address is frequently needed to deliver goods or to handle complaints and disputes. It used to be that one could simply call and make a restaurant reservation (often even using as a nom-de-guerre the name of a famous scholar or author). Then restaurants began asking for phone numbers and now some even require a credit card number to hold the place. Such identity becomes an alternative to the generalized trust more characteristic of small communities.
7) to aide research. Research may benefit from links to other types of personal data. Longitudinal research may require tracking unique individuals although identity can be masked with statistical techniques.
8) to protect health and consumers. Health and consumer protection may require identifying individuals with particular predispositions or experiences such as exposure to a substance discovered to be toxic or purchasers of a product later found to have a safety defect. Concern over genetic predispositions to illness may be one reason why records are kept (if often confidential) of sperm and egg donors or birth parents giving a child up for adoption. The need to identify persons in death (as with the DNA samples required of those in the military) which are to be used only for that purpose, or to obtain personal information helpful in a medical emergency are other examples.
9) to aide in relationship building. The currency of friendship and intimacy is a reciprocal, gradual revealing of personal information that starts with name and location. Here information is a resource like a down payment and perhaps a series of balloon payments over time, but it also has a symbolic meaning beyond its specific content.
10) to aide in social orientation. It used to be said at baseball stadiums, "You can't tell the players without a program" (although we have seen a move from numbers to names on jerseys). More broadly social orientation to strangers and social regulation are aided by the clues about other aspects of identity presumed to be revealed by name and location (e.g., ethnicity, religion, life style).
C. Some Trends and
Questions for Future Research
Suggesting types of identification and the justifications and related types of social setting in which personal information must be presented, or is protected, is a first step toward a more systematic theory and its empirical assessment. I think we are in the midst of major changes in identification that may prove to be every bit as profound as those associated with the rise of bureaucracy and the nation-state. Our current situation is quite dynamic and rapidly changing. This works against sweeping generalizations or gaining perspective. Yet the observing classes need to observe.
Based on my research on undercover police and new information technologies, let me note some empirical trends that suggest issues for research. 9 I will state these in the form of hypotheses.
1) the kinds of information (biometric, behavioral) available to determine unique, "embodied" as Goffman 10 puts it, identities has greatly expanded with respect to:
a) the correspondence or fit between presumed indicators of identity and a unique person (e.g., matching DNA information found at different places or times to determine if it is from the same individual or handprint geometry, retinal patterns, facial, voice and writing recognition systems). This answers the question, "is this the same person?". The indelible and inherent quality of DNA can also inform questions about paternity and maternity.2) the validity of the above forms of identification is in general very strong compared to the crude links (and frequent miscarriages of justice, whether convicting the innocent, or freeing the guilty) found with 19th century Lombrosian and related forms of identification.
b) the ability to link indicators of unique identity to a particular person "known" (or believed) to be a given individual as defined by a legal name and biological descent. This requires either a data base against which the indicators can be compared to discover who they "belong" to or the presence of a person or their data which can be compared. With apologies to Sesame Street, This answers the question "who is it?" While one must be very wary of any single determinism, this is a nice example of how a technical development can drive a social development. Note the emergence of law enforcement, military and other DNA data bases (and forms such as voice prints) with explicit links to the "who" question. For effective use the unidentified DNA (and other) data "requires" organizational data bases tied to known individuals.
3) the 19th century ways of classifying individuals Foucault associated with the development of institutions have continued to expand. The validity of these abstractly constructed, indirect, profiled indicators is in general lower than with the simple determination of legal name and biological identity noted above.
4) there has been a major expansion of laws, policies and procedures mandating that individuals provide personal information. This has not been matched by equivalent protections for personal information, although these have increased as well. The former involves an increase in the kinds of information that must be presented and the conditions under which it must be presented. Anyone trying to check into a major hotel, fly on an airplane and increasingly even make a credit card purchase ("But sir, we need your phone number in case there is a mistake or the product is called back"), has learned that.
At a more abstract level the need to provide identification to enter gated communities, to access a building, and use an elevator also fits here. In many ways the reins are tightening. Partly this involves "surveillance creep". For example note the demand for social security number in so many contexts unrelated to its original purpose.
There are many reasons for this, but the ability to know more (and the assumption that more knowledge is better), coupled with perceptions of increased risk associated with the ironic vulnerabilities of a technologically interdependent society (e.g., nuclear power plants, electrical power and communication grids, air travel, financial transactions, contagious diseases) are central. The interactions with strangers across vast distances brought by credit card and cyberspace dealings also requires substitutes for the identification that came from face-to-face interactions with a "known" person. This opens up vast markets, and entrepreneurs have played a major role in the commodification of personal information.
5) some aspects of identity and of the past more broadly, have a greater presence than ever before. With contemporary forms of data collection, storage and retrieval, elements of the past that tended to be forgotten are now preserved. For both better and worse elements of the individual's past cease to be past and instead are past on. Compare for example the potential reach and durability of E-mail and posting on electronic bulletin boards with post cards, or taking a note down from a physical bulletin board in a fixed location.
This goes beyond technology. The expanding 1960s and Watergate ethos of openness has broad impacts. Consider for example the increased availability of information about birth parents to those who were adopted. Consider also increases in the police practice known as "field investigations" in which police interrogate persons who appear not to "belong" to a given place, road blocks to check for alcohol, and recent Congressional legislation that sought (unsuccessfully this time) to make it possible to unseal juvenile arrest records.
6) parallel or shadow selves or identities have emerged alongside of those we are aware of and may have a degree of control over, (or at least control over whether or not we share them with others). With the rise of ever more varied organizational means of classification, we are increasingly subjected to imputed identities of which we are unaware. At one level these are generic such as in the dividing of the U.S. by zip codes into clusters for mass marketing 11 or participation in a network. But they are also individualized, such as scores for assessing credit or health risks. (I recently learned my credit score but I have no idea what that "means" since it is relative to other rankings and its "meaning" will vary depending on the standards of the organization using it, nor can I effectively lobby that my "real" number is something else). Organizations, which comb and combine public and private records and repackage this information for sale to mass marketers, insurers, employers and others, are another example. Even where individuals are aware and sought classification --as with SAT scores, the classification rests with a third party rather than with the individual. Such organizational classifications play a major (and often unduly sub-rosa) role in effecting life chances.
7) Individuals have an expanding variety of identities to adopt. Some identities that historically tended to be largely inherited such as social status or religion, are less so now. Even seemingly permanent physical attributes such as gender, height, body shape or facial appearance can be altered, whether by hormones or surgery.
This partly represents increased social mobility and 20th century expansions of civil liberties and civil rights. It also represents technologies that make it possible to alter the body, the forming of cyberspace communities, and the ease of presenting fraudulent cyberspace identities divorced from the traditional constraints of place and time. America On Line offers subscribers up to 5 aliases and fantasy chat rooms. Individuals in some ways are freer to make, or remake themselves than ever before. This ties to the emergence of the self as a commodity and an object to be worked on, just as one would work on a plot of land or carve a block of wood. This relates to the ethos of American optimism, pragmatism and self-help.
8) in a dialectical process, the use of false or misleading identification by subjects is increasing in self-defense and because of new opportunities. For example in one large case in 1998, the Immigration and Naturalization Service seized 2 million fake government ID cards including resident alien cards, immigration forms, driver's licenses, Social Security cards, credit cards, traveler's checks and printing equipment.
The use of false identification in many settings is not dependent on such counterfeit documents. There is a wonderful line in the film "The Great Lebrowski" in which when a police officer asks Lebrowski for his identification he has only his Ralph's supermarket card to offer (we don't see what name is actually on it). My local supermarket card identifies me as Georg Simmel. I also get junk mail for Emile Durkheim and of course Karl Marx. Research on the accuracy of information provided to web cites as a condition for entry, suggests a high rate of falsification.
9) a variety of new forms of identification intended to mask or mediate between the individual's name and location are appearing and will appear. Combining elements of anonymity and general and/or specific identifiability, these may certify the individual as being a certain kind of person and therefore eligible or ineligible to be treated in a particular way, or they may permit interactions with the unique individual in question, but not permit knowing the individual's legal identity or physical "meat space" location. As more and more actions are remotely tracked in cyberspace (phone communication, highway travel, consumer transactions) the pseudonym equivalent will become an increasingly common and accepted form of presenting the self for particular purposes (whether as a unique individual or as a member of a particular category).
Certainly in many contexts what matters is continuity of personhood and the validity of the claims the individual makes (whether of the ability to pay for something, their access to relevant resources or of their expertise and experience) and their legitimacy to perform a particular role. Legal name may be irrelevant but verification is not. The crucial issue then becomes authentication of the pseudonmity. Smart cards and new crypto protocols make this easier.
Modern technology offers a variety of ways of uncoupling verification from unique identity. Validity, authenticity, and eligibility can be determined without having to know a person’s name or location. Public policy debates will increasingly focus on when verification with anonymity is, or is not appropriate and on various intermediary mechanisms that offer pseudonymous buffers but not full identification. Since the cognitive appetite is difficult to sate, organizations will push for more rather than less information on individuals, although they will not necessarily want to share their information with each other.
10) the state's reasons for collecting and using identification have broadened. In the 20th Century its traditional claimed needs to identify for reasons of internal security, the draft, to protect borders, and for taxation, have been supplemented by regulatory needs and the desire to do good (as defined by those with power) via the welfare state. The private sector whether for employment or commercial reasons has greatly expanded its use of personal data. Unlike the state's use of personal data, this is barely controlled by law.
11) the importance of physical place, localism and national borders for identity is lessening in some ways with ironic consequences. More inclusive units such as the European Union involve a lessening of border controls and id checks between countries, but this may also mean an intensification of surveillance within countries and at the broader parameters of the new unit.
12) identities are becoming relatively less unitary, homogeneous, fixed and enduring, as the modernist idea of being able to choose who we are continues to expand, along with globalization processes and increased integration. Sex change operations are at one extreme (what is the proper way of identifying a person who has undergone such an operation?). But more common are the new identities created through the increased intermarriage of ethnically, racially, religiously and nationally distinct groups. An increase in children of mixed marriages, those holding duo-citizenship, immigration, tourism and communities in cyberspace illustrate this. New categories for marginal, hybrid and anomalous groups will appear. As just one example take the millions of Americans who, as products of a mixed marriage, consider themselves both Christian and Jewish, White and Black or Asian and Hispanic.
13) the lines between the public and private sector with respect to identification are more blurred than ever before. Consider new public/private places such as shopping malls, industrial parks and university campuses, the privatization of many traditional state functions and the rise of private data base companies drawing on public record data. The blurring of lines between work and home, as an increasing number of persons work at home and workplaces provide recreational, day-care and health facilities is another example.
Considered together some of the above changes appear ironic, paradoxical or contradictory. I take this as a sign of both reality's ability to overflow our either/or categories and our lack of empirical research.
As the competing rationales discussed above suggest, there are value conflicts and conflicting needs and consequences which make it difficult to take a broad and consistent position in favor of, or against, expanding or restricting various kinds of identification and the conditions that govern them. To list only some of these:
Back to Main Page | Bibliography | Top
1. This article draws from a book tentatively titled Windows Into the Soul: Surveillance and Society in an Age of High Technology based on the American Sociological Association-Duke University Jensen Lectures.
2. See for example: James Rule, Private Lives, Public Surveillance (London: Allen-Unwin, 1973); Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison (New York: Vintage, 1977); Ken Laudon, The Dossier Society: Value Choices in the Design of National Information Systems (New York: Columbia University Press, 1986); Gary T. Marx, Undercover: Police Surveillance in America (Berkeley, Ca.: University of California Press, 1988); Roger Clarke, "Information Technology and Dataveillance," Communications of the ACM 31 (1988): 29-45; Oscar Gandy, The Panoptic Sort (Boulder: Westview Press, 1993); David Lyon, The Electronic Eye: The Rise of the Surveillance Society (Cambridge, England: Polity Press, 1994); David Lyon and Elias Zureik, eds., Computers, Surveillance and Privacy (Minneapolis: Univ. of Minn. Press, 1996); Michael Curry, Digital Places: Living With Geographic Information Systems (London: Routledge, 1997) ; William Staples, The Culture of Surveillance (New York: St. Martins, 1997).
3. Jeff Ferrell, Crimes of Style: Urban Graffiti and the Politics of Criminality (Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1996).
4. I make
these observations as a social observer and not as a moralist or empiricist
(in the sense of subjecting claims to some kind of empirical standard).
I argue neither that these justifications are necessarily good, nor that
the claimed empirical consequences (and no unintended or other consequences)
necessarily follow. To have a pony in those races requires analysis beyond
the scope of this paper.
Here I simply take claimed justifications at face value and report them. This is a first step to empirically testing such claims. Three additional tasks involve a) trying to find a pattern in the attachment of moral evaluations to the various forms of behavior b) systematically relating the types of identity knowledge to the rationales c) as a citizen taking a moral position on what it is that the society has normatively offered up regarding identity knowledge.
5 . See for example the discussion in Mary Virnoche "When A Stranger Calls: Strange Making Technologies and the Transformation of the Stranger" paper delivered at the Pacific Sociological Association Meetings, 1997.
6. See for example Gary T. Marx, “Fraudulent Identification and Biography” in D. Altheide, et al editor. New Directions in the Study of Law, Social Control (New York: Plenum, 1990) and Ann Cavoukian, The Theft of Identity (Ontario, Canada: Office f the Privacy Commissioner, Ontario, Canada., 1996).
7. Gary T. Marx, “New Telecommunication Technologies Require New Manners,” Telecommunications Policy 18 (1994): 538-552.
8. Robert Lindsey, Falcon and Snowman (New York: Simon and Schuster , 1985).
9. Some of these ideas are developed at greater length in Gary T. Marx, "Fragmentation and Cohesion in American Society" in Disasters, Collective Behavior and Social Organization, Russell Dynes and Kathleen Tierney eds. ( Newark, Delaware: University of Delaware Press, 1989); Marx, ibid., 1994; and Marx, "Social Control Across Borders" in Crime and Law Enforcement in the Global Village, ed. William McDonald (Cinn.: Anderson Publishing Co., 1997); and Marx, "The Declining Significance of Traditional Borders (and the Appearance of New Borders) in an Age of High Technology" in Intelligent Environments , ed. Peter Droege (Amsterdam: Elsevier Science, 1997).
10. Erving Goffman, Asylums: Essays on the Social Situation of the Mental Patient (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 1961).
11. See the discussion in Eric Larson, The Naked Consumer (New York: Henry Holt, 1992).
Back to Main Page | Notes | Top
Cavoukian, Ann. The Theft of Identity. Ontario: Office of Privacy Commissioner, 1996.
Clarke, Roger. "Information Technology and Dataveillance." Communications of the ACM 31, (1988): 29-45.
Curry, Michael. Digital Places: Living With Geographic Information Technologies. London: Routledge, 1998.
Ferrell, Jeffery . Crimes of Style: Urban Graffiti . Boston: Northeastern Univ. Press, 1996.
Foucault, Michel. Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. New York: Vintage, 1977.
Gandy, Oscar. 1993. The Panoptic Sort. Colorado: Westview Press, 1993.
Goffman, Erving. Asylums: Essays on the Social Situation of the Mental Patient. New York: Anchor, 1961.
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