IIW2005: Attention Data as Identity


Attention data is the record of what you've read, what you're spending time on, and what you should be paying attention to. Two different groups are thinking about attention data in a general way: Attention.xml and Attention Trust. My impression is that Attention.xml is more about the technology needed to track yourself while Attention Trust is more "rights" to "data you own."

We had a discussion this morning at IIW2005 about attention data and identity. It's clear that attention data is founded on identity, it's less clear that attention data is identity in the sense of "digital identity" as it's commonly defined as a collection of attributes, preferences, and traits. A few points of interest from the discussion:

  • Attention, or everything I do, defines me in a way that is both self-asserting, and, so long as it's accurate, definitive in the aggregate. This is the technological expression of "I can't hear what you say because what you do is screaming so loudly in my ears."
  • Do user's "own" their attention data to the extent that they have the right to compel another entity to hand it over? For example, when I visit Amazon, they track my clickstream. I can track it as well (by hand, with a browser plugin, etc.) Should Amazon be compelled to hand over my clickstream data to me? This was an issue of hot debate in the discussion.