[DG-IDoT] Defining when a thing has an identity

Son Han son.han at it-sudparis.eu
Tue Sep 24 11:32:42 CDT 2013

Dear All,

I have a quick comment on the Benoit second question about "an object in 
fact just carrying or using its owner's identity?". I suppose objects in 
the future could be able to do a lot of things automatically, to react 
to emergency situation for example. When things become "smart", their 
identities then could be something else rather than "owner's 
identities", where the concept of ownership would be quite blur. Moving 
forward to IoT vision and a smart world, well, things should have there 
own identities rather than rely on their owners.

Thank you.
Best regards,

Son Han
On 9/24/2013 5:43 PM, BAILLEUX Benoit OLNC/OLPS wrote:
> Hello all,
> During last teleconference, I have asked a question that has not been
> answered during the call. Ingo suggested to ask to the whole list.
> Short:
> Where to put the limit, for a thing or object, between a simple list of
> attributes and a whole/real "identity" for that object? Does the object
> need a minimal computing power to have an identity? Or the simple fact
> to be able to answer a request (even if it is "passive") is enough for
> that? Are there other criteria (like, for an object, just having a
> unique ID)?
> Another question: in a lot of cases, instead of a proper identity,
> doesn't an object in fact just carrying or using its owner's identity?
> A bit longer:
> Nowadays, a lot of devices, objects and things are able to communicate,
> either actively or passively (upon request, as with RFID). Most of those
> objects have an identifier and often a set of attributes. Some of them
> are able to react to their environment. But in some cases, it seems to
> me that certain object don't have a "digital identity" on their own. I
> think that they just carry a set of complementary attributes for another
> entity, or just have a set of attributes, but not a "real" identity, or
> act on behalf of another entity.
> Examples:
>   - A light-bulb has an address (IPv6?) and some attributes (e.g.
> firstUsed:<a date> and onFor:<a duration>). Is it a real identity?
>   - A micro-chip has just an ID number. Isn't that number just an
> attribute of the identity of the pet wearing it under its skin?
>   - Consider a car. It sometimes act on behalf of its owner or driver
> (when paying a toll), and sometimes for itself (when connected to the
> computer of the garage).
>   - What is the difference between an economic good with a paper label
> with a serial number, or with a label with a barcode or with a passive
> contactless chip (RFID)? Does only the latter have a (digital) identity?
> Should we build a typology of identities (or "nearly identities")? If we
> can define the wider spectrum of possible identities definitions, then
> we can choose which part of that spectrum we want to address in the WG.
> Finally, objects acting on behalf of their owners or with the identities
> of their owners (e.g. a smartphone sending a notification) seem to be
> something quite common. The owner's identity is then pervasive and
> exists (sometimes partially and momentarily) in several objects at the
> same time. The identity has different forms in the various objects,
> depending on their needs and their capabilities, but it's really the
> same everywhere. I think that situation dramatically needs an
> "overarching Identity Framework" to "recognize and manage identities
> across different solutions".
> Do you agree?
> I'm sorry for posting this so late. Please ask me if my poor English is
> not understandable.
> Regards,

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