Barefoot Innovation Podcast: Greg Kidd with Jo Ann Barefoot on transforming identity

globaliD co-founder and CEO Greg Kidd recently joined Jo Ann Barefoot on her podcast, Barefoot Innovation, to discuss the future and potential of digital identity.

Long time friends, the two share a passion for thinking deeply about the technology and regulations that catalyze our modern reality and the ensuing conversation is well worth the listen.

Aside from being the CEO of Barefoot Innovation Group, Jo is a Senior Fellow Emerita at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government’s Center for Business & Government as well as a serial author and entrepreneur. She serves on the boards of the Center For Financial Services Innovation (CFSI) and the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC). (For more about Jo, check out her website.)

A brief highlight from their chat, where Greg riffs on the pertinence of namespaces and his vision for globaliD:

Greg Kidd: I do believe that people ought to be able to be masters of their own identity. The comment you made about numbers is interesting. We as human beings have been putting miraculously differentiated in terms of using numbers versus other animal species or whatnot. In fact, the internet and the whole concept of TCP, IP was a whole numbering system that allowed the internet to get started. The thing that made the internet move to the mainstream was the World Wide Web. The World Wide Web was based on a namespace, what we call DNS, the domain name system, which was a linguistic innovation. It was a layer of language on top. It meant that every website in the world could be identified without you having to know the numbers underneath.

That was a huge simplification or abstraction of something that was for geeks that made it practical for businesses and users. While there was a central administrator at the start network solutions to get it going, it’s actually a distributed scheme now so that no two names can be issued and duplicate. That’s really made the modern internet thrive. The observation is, why shouldn’t that happen for identity? Our one view, which we might say is our welling view is you give every person a number. The question would be, who would give that number, etc? It’s quite dehumanizing for us all to be reduced to a number. There’s an alternate construct that’s been very successful in human history, which is language and names.

We all could have a handle or multiple handles. No two people could have the same handle. Every business could have a handle, too that Rami would be very happy. Because he thinks companies are people. To this extent that a company is a manifestation of the will of people. There’d be no confusion about companies or people. You could have a system that means we all own our name. Once we have a name, we could build our reputation around that. Both computationally but also in a way that is just very humanizing. i.e. we can get vouchers from our friends. We can connect the fact that we have a good reputation on Airbnb. We can show that we’ve connected to a bank. We could do a biometric. We could roundtrip our phone number. All these things could be collected.

Be sure to check out the full podcast here at Jo’s site or on iTunes.

You can also view a transcript of the chat here.