This bit of an exchange from a mailing list has been stuck in my inbox for more than a year, time to post it. It was about Chi.mp, a "content hub and identity management portal".
and I can't help but think of this from the magazine In Formation #2, part of the late dot-com era:
Come on people, don't believe that you can create a world where the bits in the system are a perfect mirror of who you are. Individual identities are not something that can be reduced to microformats. I can change my mind, and not have to go back and update a zillion web pages to reflect that change of mind. Whatever you are calling "identity" here is emphatically not what human beings think of as their identity; perhaps if you replaced it with "dossier" the nature of the data gathering would be more clear in a historical context (think Stasi, for instance, instead of Facebook).
To the extent that your personal data projected onto the internet (or onto the financial networks or the astral plane) is a reflection of you, then in some real sense it is you.
I'll stay very skeptical that by standardizing a microformat that we can easily update that we can somehow "control our own identity". How much of your personal identity (or the data that reflects some aspect of your personal identity) is really stored on servers and systems and for that matter on paper beyond your immediate control? After all, I have a dossier (er, Address Book entry) which you can't update at will. If you change names, change jobs, or change ideas about what your Self is, that's going to take some time to percolate through The System, and some parts of it will be unchangable just like the name you never use now but that people who knew you from when you were little still call you.