My conversation with QDOS support

Since I wrote the note about Online Identity I've been exchanging emails with the team at QDOS trying to work out where the value is for me as netizen. There is a human team at Garlik and smiliar to Alan Burlinson I feel that their human responsive face sets a good example in today's online world.

Gammydodger:My full-name and UK postcode scores Q2767. I am cultivating an online identity ‘gammydodger’ that will allow me to maintain a presence on the web where I have control over who knows what about me. In researching my QDOS scores, I have linked my real name with my online id – this I see as a problem. The internet generation has developed an inherent ability to separate reality from their online persona - QDOS works against this and I feel that combining my online persona with my real persona increases risk. When I de-coupled all of my online sites in QDOS, my score reduced to 505. Given the potential for ID theft, I need to keep my QDOS score as low as possible.

Support@QDOS: Thank you for your email and joining QDOS. We fully appreciate your concerns about keeping your on-line identity and your real name separate and naturally understand you do not want to connect the two together. Our registration process is in Beta stage and at present we only allow you to register with a full name and postcode, however we are working on this and will be updating the process soon, allowing people to register under their on-line identities. While we develop the process, if you would like to be able to add all your links to your on-line persona of 'gammydodger' please confirm the name you registered with and we will then amend these details for you.

Rest assured your real name will not appear anywhere on the site in relation to 'gammydodger' once the name has been changed. Alternatively, if you are not comfortable with this, simply wait until the option to register under your on-line persona is available. If you keep your real identity score too, then you may find it interesting to compare the two.

For your real score, a low score could indicate that you are at low risk of identity theft, as your score would indicate that your information is not out in the public domain. However, when it comes to identity theft, it's not just about how much is out there, but what the information is. You may only have one link to yourself on-line, and a really low score, but that one link may contain all your personal details, thus putting you at high risk. Therefore, as you say, keep your real score low, and don't promote your personal details unnecessarily. Whereas, the side you want to promote, your on-line persona, that's where you can have some fun and add all your links and start comparing yourself with other people in the digital world.

Gammydodger:Do you remember the movie 'Big' where Tom Hanks says, 'a building that turns into a robot, what's fun about that?' I'm not certain that there is enough value in the comparison aspect yet. 50cent and Barack Obama are worlds apart from normal people, so the value of comparing against them may be an interesting Facebook diversion, but perhaps not the route that you want for someone who is concerned with ID. However I understand how you need to cross the chasm with this, to get individuals who are currently apathetic about their data to actually be concerned or even mildly interested in this. I don’t have an answer... the Lifelock proposition in the US seems to be popular and of course Experian, Equifax and CCP's credit watch schemes seem to work - but this is primarily credit scores rather than more general online data. Even after the 26m UK citizen breach, people are still not taking notice or able to make the link between instances like that AND id-theft. Or perhaps they are unable to extrapolate how more of their information is going to be available as time goes on. I think that Garlik have a solution to a problem that is as yet unperceived - but you know that and the QDOS score is trying to put this activity into a positive space. But the benefit is not enough. Maybe the Facebook app is going to give you some traction but like Pirates or Warbook in Facebook is it a dead end?

What made SMS take off all of a sudden? That is the utility that I think you are looking for and I am certain there is a route to giving a person a tangible and sustainable value from helping them manage their online identity.

Support@QDOS: Facebook is just an initial idea of how to get more people involved, and quite right, it may fizzle out quite quickly, but we hope that this along with the Q-ED competition for the students, will create a starting block to make more people aware of their digital identities.

We are still in Beta, and at the moment are just trying different ideas out there and seeing what sticks. Your profile name has now been updated, we hope you do enjoy shaping your QDOS and take some pleasure in beating your colleagues scores, even if you can't reach the likes of 50cent, and that it is more fun than playing with a building, also a fan of BIG, great movie.