Who’s in Charge of Who I Am? Identity and Law Online

As we enter this new century, identity online seems full of opportunity. Someday “virtual world” identities will be indistinguishable from “real” identities — just as “e-commerce” has become indistinguishable from “commerce.” Control over online avatar identities will have many real-world consequences, because these clouds of bits may include our credit records, our buddy lists, our job records, personal references and other information regarding reputation, medical histories, certifications and academic transcripts. As soon as something is valuable and persistent, we seek to associate rights and duties with it. What will those rights be? And what will be the law of online identity to which those rights apply?

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