ID cards get the go ahead today – with the news that they will be compulsory for people applying for passports in the UK in 2010. The furore over our civil liberties aside being able to define ‘us’ on a card seems so archaic when we’re now a ‘mulitiplicity’. When we now not only ‘philosophically’ seen as a myriad of identities, constructed discursively and materially [e.g. ‘cyborgs’] but also the way we construct our own identities in practice through our relationships with materials and humans and language.
This ‘multiplicity’ of selves is, of course, difficult to ‘police’. You can’t have malleable entities and then hope to manage them under the Rule of Law. It would lead to all manner of difficulty. But will the URI – the unique identifier – for you that these cards effectively ‘are’ be ‘strong’ enough to encapsulate the multiplicity? In other words will it be embedded in the architecture of the internet-of-things sufficiently to really threaten your liberties in your ability to construct yourself malleably? This may not seem such a big deal but for me this poses the ‘real’ threat of our liberty on a day-to-day level. Will we be one of the things in the internet-of-things? Suddenly the utopia around this overarching architecture turns dystopian.