Natural Born Digital Citizens? (part 3)

Digital Identity and Recognition

Part 1 of “Natural Born Digital Citizens?” raised the question of creating a digital identity for our children before they have the ability to take ownership of it. One of the issues raised in both articles linked in that post was facial recognition in photos online. Both articles argued against posting photos of children in part because of the ability of some websites to recognize faces and track people.

This is a potential issue not only for the younger generation but also for those who are acting and interacting online now. It goes beyond facial recognition. Bibliography websites offer to scan your paper for plagiarism—which means they can recognize published works nested in other works. Apple Music transfers users’ iTunes libraries to the cloud, not by copying them but by linking them to files that are already there, whether or not the files are an exact match—which means they can recognize songs, even if they are different recordings. The ability for online entities to recognize and organize people and things, correctly or incorrectly, could eventually confuse identity and stifle creativity.

What are the implications for digital citizenship if digital identity depends on recognition, especially if recognition can go wrong?

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