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March 21, 2007 / conceptbin

Show us your Unique Identifiers

In the past weeks I’ve been seeing how many unique identifiers people around me have on them. These are things that identify the user for access to a database of some kind: credit cards, Oyster, Nectar, ID cards, etc. I’ve asked my students in Media Theory at Greenwich,  students in Digital Media, who I gave a guest lecture to at Canterbury Christ Church University, not to mention sundry friends and colleagues to empty their bags and pockets and count how many unique identifiers they have on them.

The record number of identifiers is 22. I won’t say who or where, but the owner was impressively outfitted for surveillance. Credit cards, store cards, loyalty cards for supermarkets, two mobile phones, mp3 players and other gadgets with serial numbers, Oyster card, identification cards of all kinds… The list goes on.

The record low, is 1. But I think she forgot her bag at home. I’ve tried to see if there’s a gender difference, but the unequal distribution of male to female in my classes (weighted heavily in favour of female) makes it difficult to tell.

We’ve left out physical identifiers like fingerprints, DNA, retina, etc., because those you can’t choose whether or not to carry them around on your person.

How many do you have right now?

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