My identity should not be solely my email address and neither should yours.
I had a series of personal email addresses as I bounced from a school email address through a series of Internet Service Provider (ISP) addresses before ending up with the Gmail address I’ve had for the last 15 years. Every time I’ve gotten a new job I’ve been given a company email address. That address represents my business identity at the time. And my LinkedIn profile (tied to one or more email addresses) represents my business identity over time.
But I’m not any of those email addresses, and at YeshID we don’t think that an email address (or several) is the best foundation for a personal identity. Certainly not for me. Why?
- Email addresses are not secure. Email accounts are frequently targeted by hackers, who can steal personal information such as passwords, credit card numbers, and Social Security numbers. This information can then be used to commit identity theft.
- Email addresses are not portable. If you change email addresses or providers, you may have to update your email address on all of the websites and services you use. This can be a hassle, especially if you have a lot of accounts.
- Email addresses are not private. Your email address is visible to anyone who sends you an email. This means that your email address could be collected by data brokers and used for marketing purposes.
Most products are keyed off of emails as the unique identifier. So it isn’t easy to fix. But we have some ideas:
- We believe that identity should be decentralized. This means that your identity should not be tied to a single service provider or account. Instead, it should be spread out across multiple services and accounts. This makes it more difficult for hackers to steal your identity, and it also makes it easier for you to switch services if you’re not happy with one.
- We believe that identity should be portable. This means that you should be able to take your identity with you wherever you go. If you switch jobs, you should be able to take proof of your past identity with you to your new company. And if you move to a new country, you should be able to take your identity with you to your new home.
- We believe that identity should be private. This means that you should have control over who can see your identity information. You should be able to choose who you share your information with, and you should be able to revoke access to your information at any time.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on identity and how you should be uniquely identified online. Let us know!