Posted on Leave a comment

Exploring the Concept of Virtual Identity: A Technical Analysis

Virtual Identity Explained

With the increasing use of technology, the concept of virtual identity has become a popular topic of discussion. Virtual identity refers to the digital representation of an individual, which includes personal information, behavior, and interactions in the online world. This article explores the technical aspects of virtual identity and its role in various digital platforms.

The Technical Aspects of Virtual Identity

Virtual identity is a complex concept that involves technical aspects such as data encryption, user authentication, and digital signatures. Data encryption is used to ensure that personal information is kept secure during transmission across networks. User authentication is the process of confirming the identity of an individual using a username and password, biometric verification, or other identification methods. Digital signatures are used to verify the authenticity of electronic documents and transactions.

Virtual Identity: The Role of Authentication

Authentication is a critical component of virtual identity, as it ensures that only authorized individuals have access to personal information and digital resources. In addition to usernames and passwords, modern authentication methods include multi-factor authentication, biometric verification, and behavioral analysis. Multi-factor authentication involves using more than one form of identification, such as a password and a security token. Biometric verification uses physical characteristics, such as fingerprints or facial recognition, to identify individuals. Behavioral analysis uses machine learning algorithms to analyze user behavior and detect anomalies that may indicate fraudulent activity.

Virtual Identity vs. Real Identity: A Comparison

Virtual identity differs from real identity in several ways. Real identity refers to an individual’s physical characteristics and personal information, such as name, date of birth, and address. Virtual identity includes this information, as well as online behavior, interactions, and preferences. Virtual identity can be more fluid than real identity, as individuals can create multiple virtual identities or change their online persona to fit different contexts.

Privacy Concerns in Virtual Identity

Privacy is a major concern in virtual identity, as personal information can be easily accessed and exploited in the online world. Individuals must be aware of the risks associated with sharing personal information online and take steps to protect their virtual identity. This includes using strong passwords, limiting the amount of personal information shared online, and being cautious when interacting with unknown individuals or sites.

Digital Footprint: Building Virtual Identity

A digital footprint is the trail of data left behind by an individual’s online activity. This includes social media posts, search engine queries, and website visits. A digital footprint can be used to build a virtual identity, as it provides insight into an individual’s behavior and interests. It is important for individuals to manage their digital footprint and ensure that it accurately represents their values and beliefs.

The Importance of Virtual Identity Management

Virtual identity management involves controlling and maintaining an individual’s online presence. This includes monitoring online behavior, managing privacy settings, and responding to negative content or reviews. Virtual identity management is important for individuals, businesses, and organizations to maintain a positive image and protect against reputation damage.

Virtual Identity and Cybersecurity

Virtual identity is closely tied to cybersecurity, as the protection of personal information and digital resources is essential to maintaining virtual identity. Cybersecurity involves protecting against unauthorized access, cyber-attacks, and data breaches. Individuals and businesses must implement strong security measures, such as firewalls, encryption, and intrusion detection systems, to protect against cyber threats.

Virtual Identity in Social Media

Social media platforms are a major component of virtual identity, as they provide a space for individuals to express themselves and interact with others online. Social media profiles can be used to build a virtual identity, showcase skills and accomplishments, and connect with others in a professional or personal capacity. It is important for individuals to be mindful of their social media activity and ensure that it aligns with their desired virtual identity.

Virtual Identities in Gaming: A Technical Discussion

Virtual identities are also prevalent in the gaming world, where individuals can create avatars and interact with others in virtual environments. Gaming platforms must implement strong security measures to protect against hacking, cheating, and other forms of abuse. Virtual identities can be used to enhance the gaming experience, as players can customize their avatars and build relationships with other players.

Virtual Reality and Virtual Identity

Virtual reality technology allows individuals to immerse themselves in virtual environments and interact with others in a more realistic way. Virtual reality can enhance virtual identity by allowing individuals to create more realistic avatars and interact with others in a more natural way. It is important for individuals to be aware of the privacy risks associated with virtual reality and take steps to protect their personal information.

The Future of Virtual Identity

As technology continues to evolve, the concept of virtual identity will become increasingly important. It is up to individuals, businesses, and organizations to manage virtual identity effectively and protect against cyber threats. By understanding the technical aspects of virtual identity and implementing strong security measures, individuals can build a positive online presence and protect their personal information in the digital world.

Posted on Leave a comment

No Maps For These Territories

A Profound and Moving Statement About the Human Condition


You don't need to be a fan of William Gibson to get a lot out of "No Maps for These Territories." Taking the simple form of Gibson expounding on a raft of subjects from the backseat of a car en route from Los Angeles to Vancouver, intercut with a breathtaking visual melange to illustrate his points, "Maps" is a good reminder of how truly profound have been the changes in the world in the last few years, as well as what it means to be human -- the only animal that makes maps, after all.

Despite the whole "cyberpunk" label (which he rejects, anyway) Gibson comes across as intelligent, thoughtful and a rather nice person, and he looks at least a good decade and a half younger than his mid-50's baby-boomer age. And his description of his writing process is the most accurate distillation of how creativity works that I've ever heard. There isn't any BS coming from this back seat; Gibson speaks from the heart and it shows.

Oddly enough, it's the hardcore fans who might be the most disappointed in this film. Gibson is almost self-deprecating in talking about his work and his fame. But it's a film that deserves to be seen, and listened to with great attention. It's also done with a stunning style that adds to, rather than distracts from, the content. The film begins with frenetic, quick-cut images, but ends up in a beautiful, elegiac mood as we drive down a fog-shrouded bridge while U2's Bono reads from Gibson's unpublished Memory Palace. The end result is moving, haunting and worth many repeat viewings to take it all in.

William Gibson

William Ford Gibson (born March 17, 1948) is an American-Canadian speculative fiction writer and essayist widely credited with pioneering the science fiction subgenre known as cyberpunk. Beginning his writing career in the late 1970s, his early works were noir, near-future stories that explored the effects of technology, cybernetics, and computer networks on humans—a "combination of lowlife and high tech"—and helped to create an iconography for the information age before the ubiquity of the Internet in the 1990s. Gibson coined the term "cyberspace" for "widespread, interconnected digital technology" in his short story "Burning Chrome" (1982), and later popularized the concept in his acclaimed debut novel Neuromancer (1984). These early works of Gibson's have been credited with "renovating" science fiction literature in the 1980s.
After expanding on the story in Neuromancer with two more novels (Count Zero in 1986, and Mona Lisa Overdrive in 1988), thus completing the dystopic Sprawl trilogy, Gibson collaborated with Bruce Sterling on the alternate history novel The Difference Engine (1990), which became an important work of the science fiction subgenre known as steampunk.
In the 1990s, Gibson composed the Bridge trilogy of novels, which explored the sociological developments of near-future urban environments, postindustrial society, and late capitalism. Following the turn of the century and the events of 9/11, Gibson emerged with a string of increasingly realist novels—Pattern Recognition (2003), Spook Country (2007), and Zero History (2010)—set in a roughly contemporary world. These works saw his name reach mainstream bestseller lists for the first time. His most recent novels, The Peripheral (2014) and Agency (2020), returned to a more overt engagement with technology and recognizable science fiction themes.
In 1999, The Guardian described Gibson as "probably the most important novelist of the past two decades", while The Sydney Morning Herald called him the "noir prophet" of cyberpunk. Throughout his career, Gibson has written more than 20 short stories and 12 critically acclaimed novels (one in collaboration), contributed articles to several major publications, and collaborated extensively with performance artists, filmmakers, and musicians. His work has been cited as influencing a variety of disciplines: academia, design, film, literature, music, cyberculture, and technology.

Please watch the film case the player malfunctions. 

From the back of a chauffeured limousine equipped with a computer, cell phone and digital cameras, legendary science-fiction writer William Gibson, author of "Neuromancer," embarks on an unusual cross-country trip. In this technological cocoon, the man who created the term "cyberspace" comments on an array of subjects -- including his literary success, what led to his writing career and how the modern world is starting to resemble the futuristic one he writes about.
Original Language:
Mark Neale
Mark Neale
Mark Neale
Release Date (Streaming):
Sound Mix:
Posted on Leave a comment

Facebook’s New Nightmare—Is It Time To Delete Your Account?


Facebook has been under fire recently, with explosive whistleblower allegations and continuing regulatory headaches. But things might have just got worse for Facebook’s 3 billion users—could it be the turning point that finally incentivises people to delete their accounts?


If you care about your data, it might be. According to a new report in Vice’s Motherboard, Facebook has no idea what it does with your data, or where it goes. That’s despite the fact that Facebook is one of the most data-hungry platforms in the world.


Motherboard published the leaked document written by Facebook privacy engineers in the social network’s Ad and Business Product Team, in full.


“We’ve built systems with open borders. The result of these open systems and open culture is well described with an analogy: Imagine you hold a bottle of ink in your hand. This bottle of ink is a mixture of all kinds of user data (3PD, 1PD, SCD, Europe, etc.)


“You pour that ink into a lake of water (our open data systems; our open culture) … and it flows … everywhere. How do you put that ink back in the bottle? How do you organize it again, such that it only flows to the allowed places in the lake?”


As Motherboard explains: 3PD means third-party data; 1PD means first-party data; SCD means sensitive categories data.

Another highlight in the document reads: “We can’t confidently make controlled policy changes or external commitments such as ‘we will not use X data for Y purpose.’ And yet, this is exactly what regulators expect us to do.”


The problem with the leaked Facebook document

So what’s the problem with this? Privacy regulation such as the EU Genereal Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)—which is thought of as the “gold standard” for people’s data protection rights—stipulates that data must be collected for a specific purpose. In other words, it can’t be collected for one reason, and then reused for something else.

The latest Facebook document shows the social network faces a challenge in complying with this, since it appears to lack control over the data in the first place.

“Not knowing where all the data is creates a fundamental problem within any business but when that data is personal user information, it causes huge privacy headaches and should be dealt with immediately,” says Jake Moore, global cybersecurity advisor at ESET.

A spokeswoman at Facebook owner Meta denies that the social network falls foul of regulation. “Considering this document does not describe our extensive processes and controls to comply with privacy regulations, it's simply inaccurate to conclude that it demonstrates non-compliance.

“New privacy regulations across the globe introduce different requirements and this document reflects the technical solutions we’re building to scale the current measures we have in place to manage data and meet our obligations."

Time to delete Facebook?

Facebook saw a decline in user numbers for the first time this year—which have since recovered slightly—as its data-hungry practices become more clear to all.

At the same time, Facebook has been hit hard by Apple’s App Tracking Transparency features, which allow people to prevent ad tracking on their iPhone. However, these features don’t prevent Facebook from collecting first party data—the data you provide to it on its site.

If you want to delete Facebook, I’ve written an article detailing the steps required to do so. If you are not quite ready yet, it’s worth considering deleting the app on your phone and instead using it on your computer's browser, to at least limit the amount of data Facebook can collect.

Posted on Leave a comment

Artificial Identity: Disruption and the Right to Persist

Research outputChapter in Book/Report/Conference proceeding › Conference contribution › Academic › peer-review


Anthropomorphism, artificial identity, and the fusion of personal
and artificial identities have become commonplace concepts in
human-computer interaction (HCI) and human-robot interaction
(HRI). In this paper, we argue for the fact that the design and life
cycle of ’smart’ technology must account for a further element
of HCI/HRI, namely that, beyond issues of combined identity, a
much more crucial point is the substantial investment of a user’s
personality on a piece of technology. We raise the fact that this
substantial investment occurs in a dynamic context of continuous
alteration of this technology, and thus the important psychological
and ethical implications ought to be given a more prominent place
in he theory and design of HCI/HRI technology.

Posted on Leave a comment

VI8: Strategic analysis and future strategies

Strategic analysis and future strategies

Reza Jamali, in Online Arab Spring, 2015

In this chapter, we try to find social media penetration barriers to the development of democracy and social justice in the Middle East. We also try to suggest some strategies to overcome these obstacles. To achieve this objective, the context of political, economic, social, technological and technical, ethical, legal analysis (PESTEL) is used and the barriers in each context are considered. Although there is no priority among these barriers, it can be argued that political instability, legal uncertainty, corruption and ethical issues play the major role in reducing the influence of social media penetration for the promotion of democracy and social justice.

On the other hand, we have argued that what happens in the circumstances of virtual social media is a clear manifestation of events in the physical environment of the country. In social media or social networks, if people, whether using real or fictional identities, stand up to protest against a group, persons or particular government, this happens because of the oppression in the physical environment, which has suddenly crossed into the virtual environment. Consequently, with any policy for cyberspace (whether in an environment of 100% government control of the media or freedom of the media), if the physical environment is not accompanied by supporting policies, physical well-being and social justice it will lead to the failure of individuals to change their government through social media.

Analysis of ethical factors

In much of the research on social media, discussion of ethical factors is impeded by a lack of sufficient information and in some cases issues regarding copyright law and morality are raised. But given the difference in objective analysis, here we try to look at it from another angle. When can we expect to see real people with real faces promoting democracy and social justice from social media? Ethical issues in social media begin when a virtual identity is shaped and the user is able to create a picture of him- or herself as he or she would like to be, not what he or she really is. It becomes extreme when people in the real world cannot show themselves as they really are, while if they express their true opinions they face penalties that are more likely to be found in dictatorial regimes. Please re-read the previous sentence. From this statement we can clearly see that an unblemished environment and observing the ethics of social media are the effect of freedom and justice in the physical environment. It can upset all the equations, even when there has been heavy investment in social media, and we cannot obtain the desired result because of the problems in the physical environment. In this case it is better to revisit the examples of our listed companies. When a company invests a lot in their brand on social media but the employees in the organisation are not happy, the employees simply share their disastisfaction and the problems they have with the work on their personal pages on social networks.

There must be a better way than this to eliminate problems. Using the network to communicate directly with the government and the people can be useful before people share their dissatisfaction with the government, whether as themselves or under a false identity, on the public network. This is a safety valve to prevent an overflow of people’s grievances. The next thing that has become clear during our research is that when a group of people who believe that social media have taken steps toward achieving their goals, the ethical points have peaked, but if the team feels that social media are phenomena that are harmful to them and which in the long term will weaken the group, failure to take note of the ethics and social media gossip from the group can eventually turn the tide in their favour. The most important points evident here are that the beginnings of such failure to comply with the ethics of such groups not only arise from social media but also from the physical environment. Suppose a religious group is strongly dissatisfied with the development of an anti-religious culture in the social media and do not see a way to deal with it. So gossip in the physical environment against social media represents attempts to blacken the reputation of social media and reduce their role in society. However, experience has shown that gossip does not end with the physical environment but evolves. The next step is for the group to create multiple pages, blogs and websites, opening up a new front in the struggle against the social media. And in the third stage of evolution, this group finds that social media must be confronted by other social media, for success to be achieved. The next thing that is one of the positive aspects of social media in the area of ethics and social justice is the high percentage of respondents who believe that regardless of whether or not governments have a role in the distribution of wealth and social justice, people must exert pressure through the Internet and social media to create justice. The minimum amount of work that must be done in this area is helping people who have low incomes and live in poverty. In all the Arab countries surveyed and Iran over 55% of people are in this situation, while the percentage in America is 38%. Most of the former are in Iran and Tunisia, at 69% and 68% per cent, respectively. This creates a strong potential for governments to increase people’s capacity to take advantage of democracy and social justice, while it appears that in some Western countries, this is more of a burden on the state.

Given the importance of ethical issues and social responsibility in the virtual environment, the researcher came up with the idea of seeking new criteria for ranking websites and social media pages. provides website ratings in terms of the number of visits, which is a factor that has an important role in the value of a web page or website. There will be a greater need to value sites in terms of ethical standards. That is why, in the middle of 2014, an elite group of programmers in the web field came together to launch the site, and readers of this book can also assist in measuring the observance of ethics on the web. According to our investigation, the principal costs of material and moral wrongdoing in virtual space in the Middle East and developing countries are higher than in developed countries. Owing to the nature of governments in the Middle East and the need for the constant monitoring of virtual environments to counter threats, Middle Eastern countries have defined more crimes in cyberspace and consequently there is greater punishment. This can be useful, leading to a reduction in non-compliance with ethics, but it also leads to changes in the identity of most people in the virtual community and therefore it becomes uncontrollable.

Posted on Leave a comment

VI2: Cyber personalities in adaptive target audiences

Cyber personalities in adaptive target audiences

Miika Sartonen, ... Jussi Timonen, in Emerging Cyber Threats and Cognitive Vulnerabilities, 2020


Target audience analysis (TAA) is an essential part of any influence operation. To convey a change in behaviour, the overall target population is systematically segmented into target audiences (TAs) according to their expected responsiveness to different types of influence and messages, as well as their expected ability to behave in a desired way.

The cyber domain poses a challenge to traditional TAA methods. Firstly, it is vast, complex and boundless, requiring effective algorithms to filter out relevant information within a meaningful timeframe. Secondly, it is constantly changing, representing a meshwork in formation, rather than a stable collection of TAA-specific data. The third challenge is that the TA consists not of people but of digital representations of individuals and groups, whose true identity, characteristics or location cannot usually be verified.

To address these challenges, the authors of this chapter suggest that the concept of TAA has to be revised for use in the cyber domain. Instead of trying to analyze physical people through the cyber interface, the authors have conceptualized an abstract entity whose physical identity might not be known but whose behavioural patterns can be observed in the cyber environment. These cyber personalities (some of which can be artificial in nature) construct and share their honest interpretation of reality, as well as their carefully planned narratives in the digital environment. From the viewpoint of TAA, the only relevant quality of these entities is their potential ability to contribute to the objectives of an influence operation.

As a first step, this chapter examines the cyber domain through a five-layer structure and looks at what TAA-relevant data are available for analysis. The authors also suggest a way of analyzing cyber personalities and their networks within adaptive TAs, to conduct a TAA that more effectively supports influence operations in the cyber domain.

Syntactic layer

The syntactic layer consists of the software that operates the devices of the physical layer (Sartonen et al., 2016). The corresponding cyber personality aspect is a virtual identity: a local user account on a computer or device. In other words, once a cyber personality starts using a new device (computer, mobile phone), a virtual identity has been created in the syntactic layer. A single virtual identity can provide access to multiple network identities, such as e-mail addresses or cloud-based user IDs, and can thus be the means of connecting multiple network identities to a single cyber personality. Linking a physical device, such as a computer on a campus or in a working place, to a virtual identity also provides demographic information about the physical identity of a cyber personality. The browser used by the cyber personality is also a good source of information. It can leave traces of past browsing and other information (such as user agent and operating system) (Wang, Lee, & Lu, 2016).

Again, conversely, supposing we have established a possible connection between the physical as well as the virtual identities of a cyber personality, we can assess the likelihood of the connection being real by comparing the information on both levels. Is the network usage pattern as expected and does it correspond with the physical trajectory? If there are discrepancies, it is possible that the cyber personality is fraudulent, such as an automated social media bot that is not utilizing a browser and is only focussing on application programming interface (Chu, Gianvecchio, Wang, & Jajodia, 2012). Discrepancies can also occur if a cyber personality uses different techniques, such as encryption (Gupta, Gupta, & Singhal, 2014) and TOR network (Haraty & Zantout, 2014), to avoid detection.

Virtual Identity