Kaliya Young doesn’t need to break up Facebook. She desires to make it out of date.
She was an Olympic-level water polo participant for Canada, however in 2002 was identified with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Freshly graduated from college and dwelling within the San Francisco Bay Area, she went via months of radiation and chemotherapy that sapped her bodily power. In her mid-twenties, removed from house, not an athlete, Young felt intensely alone.
This story initially appeared on WIRED UK.
But she dreamed of human connection. Coming out of remedy, she threw herself into activism work in environmentalism, social justice, and tech. However, she felt like she was splitting up her vitality. “Having my environmental activist self chopped up into pieces because I’m in six organizations doesn’t make sense,” says Young. “We can’t build power that way.”
Young got interested within the thought of making unified digital identities that might transfer simply between totally different platforms on-line. “I understood how critical it was that we need to own our own digital selves to build movements and make our communities better,” she says. So in 2005 she began a weblog, and known as it identitywoman.web.
She warned individuals concerning the risks of giving third-party firms, like Google or Facebook, management over particular person digital identities. “The current picture of identity on the internet is that the individual is underneath those existing hierarchies of identifiers,” she says. “I’ve a Twitter account on Twitter, a LinkedIn account on LinkedIn. That ‘on’ half signifies that I’m beneath them. They decide my digital self. I don’t personal or management my id, they belong to Facebook.”
She desires to have the ability to take her id along with her from Facebook to Google to her physician’s workplace to her financial institution, with the identical ease that she will plug any electrical gadget into any socket in any wall. And she doesn’t need any firm or authorities to have the authority to trace, cancel or droop her. But to get what she desires, Young wants so as to add a brand new layer to web protocols. That’s what she’s been engaged on for the previous 15 years.
The web is constructed on technical requirements, corresponding to TCP/IP for sending information, or SMTP for e mail. These requirements are decentralized, that means that nobody firm owns and controls them. Anyone can develop a product and plug into them. That’s why a number of totally different firms can construct their very own e mail purchasers like Gmail and Outlook and Yahoo Mail, they usually can all ship emails to one another. Facebook and Google Search, against this, are walled gardens. They maintain consumer information on their platforms for the aim of promoting advertisements.
Developing requirements is equal components know-how and politics. Representatives from totally different firms want to come back collectively and attain consensus about how a brand new know-how ought to work. These persons are not elected, however the means of passing a requirements via our bodies like IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) or W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) isn’t completely dissimilar to steering a legislation via parliament. It includes conferences and cellphone calls and negotiations.
That’s the place Young is available in. She has a background in environmental activism, and she or he’s constructed a profession as a freewheeling group organizer for id tech. She does analysis. She writes white papers and op-eds. She introduces individuals to one another. She advises everybody from the US authorities to small tech startups to Microsoft. At loads of conferences she was the one girl within the room. People got here to know her as “Identity Woman.”
Most importantly, Young has created an area for requirements work to occur, twice a yr, yearly. In 2005, she cofounded the Internet Identity Workshop (IIW) with Phil Windley and Doc Searls. Every six months, a couple of hundred id geeks flock to the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California, the place they work collectively on id requirements and know-how.