PhD Defense: Designing for Moral Identity in Information Technology

Recent advances in information technology (IT) provide us with many new opportunities to develop and shape our identities. On the other hand, IT also seems to impose a logic on account of which our identities appear as determinate, fixed, essentially quantifiable and manageable. This paradox provides the setting for exploring the relation between a “moral” conception of identity and “practical” notion of identity that is implied in IT supported social processes and administrative procedures.
Increasingly our opportunities, rights, responsibilities, and accountabilities are determined by the way we are profiled and characterized in IT environments. Individuals are ubiquitously identified and treated on the basis of their identities and profiles. This gives rise to risks such as identity theft, information-based harm, informational inequality, and (data) surveillance, but also to less obvious moral risks concerning individuals and their represented, practical identities or profiles. One of the less obvious risks discussed in this thesis is a lack of identification of the profiled persons with his or her profile.
This research provides the conceptual groundwork for the justification of moral claims and considerations regarding identity in relation to identity related claims and considerations regarding identity in relation to identify related information technologies. These considerations can in turn be used for developing the technical requirements for a design of IT applications un light of relevant moral values.