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The Gig Economy and its identity crisis – Would you love or loathe a "Universal Gigger ID"? Will it come anyway?

Et tu, B̶r̶u̶t̶e̶ Quartz?
Here’s an interesting recent article on the gig economy, its identity problem and how digital ID could fix it.

Some quotes:

Digital ID could also help gig workers manage their “back office.” Many say a common difficulty is in managing taxes, hours worked, and benefits. Let’s say you drive for Uber, Lyft, and your local ride-share app. Having a singular identity across employers, rather than a different user account for every platform, could potentially enable better and more efficient experiences when filing taxes—or even allow portable benefits schemes that are geared toward gig workers.

A digital ID could help people find gigs that are best suited to them, too. Imagine for a moment a talent platform that uses your digital ID to access your resume and your micro-credentials. Now that it recognizes you’re a verified worker, it can help connect you with verified jobs. That means you could find your next gig faster—and your future contractor knows exactly who you are and how you’ve performed on previous platforms.

Whatcha think – good, evil or simply unavoidable? Like it, hate it, Big Brother?

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I live in the UK, where, among the many objections to the idea of a digital ID, we just don’t like the idea of ID. At all. There was an attempt a decade ago to introduce ID cards, which,to government, seemed like such a good idea.

The problem is that when you introduce ID, whatever kind of ID, you are taking identity out of the human … and putting it somewhere else entirely. With all the risks that involves.

We had ID cards during WW2 … it created a cottage industry in counterfeit.

Pretty sure it would do the same thing if introduced into a gig economy populated by IT specialists …

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Terrible idea. However, creating a universal digital identity is part of what Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency will do. In this case, it is coming…

The basic problem rests with the fact that having a universal digital identity is only really a tool used for censorship. i.e. There are already cases where people are fired from real life employment because of things they say out of work on social media.

There is also not an identity crisis in the gig economy. There is a common sense crisis.

Budget clients moan about poor quality work from budget sellers. Sellers moan at the same time about buyers who raise what are to others obvious red flags.

The whole idea of universal digital identity systems (in freelancing) rests with the fact that:

  • It is difficult to verify freelancer academic qualifications and skills
  • Supposedly, some freelancers sidestep taxes
  • Some freelancers use false identities
  • It is hard for freelancers to benefit from the social proof of their work on one platform when moving to another

That is all fine until you consider:

  • Mark Zuckerberg and other modern day tech Gods who want to bring in digital identity systems are predominantly university dropouts
  • Tech giants who want to usher in universal digital identity systems to clamp down on tax avoidance are the world’s biggest tax dodgers.
  • Verifying individual freelancer identities doesn’t stop those same freelancers from outsourcing work to others. (Meaning end clients still don’t know whom they are really working with.)
  • Many freelancers experience ‘psycho’ clients occasionally who find ways to harass them off-platform on social media etc. Universal digital identity would, therefore, give anyone who doesn’t like you for whatever reason, tools to sully your reputation all across the so-called gig economy, not just on a single platform.

Basically, it is a bad idea. It is also one reason why a top trend among serious freelancers at present, is to get away from the increasingly monopolized gig-economy before it becomes a full-blown technocracy.

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Some very good points and I basically agree with all of them - not quite sure I understand the university dropout one, so I can’t agree or disagree but I won’t ask ;).

To me, like with cash, it looks as if we, as societies, are increasingly being sold giving up our freedom as freedom, and that even many who understand the differences in the worth of the various “freedoms” cave for the sake of convenience.

Independent of the massive security risk and Orwellian atmosphere that universal ID evokes, it will contribute to the standardisation of human beings, will lead to real people being even much more careful about what they do, say, and ultimately think, and becoming “universalIDeal” virtual personae.
And there’s no escape. You will change over the course of your life, but the universal ID (and the web around it) won’t forget or forgive.

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This! ^^^^ It’s bad enough having a psycho harassing you online when he or she doesn’t know who you are, but still finds ways to make you stressed out.

I was just reading about a trait of some slightly unbalanced people who enjoy the pleasure they get from hiring someone and then finding fault with them and raising a huge commotion about some made up problem. There are many such people who always, without fail, cause big problems for anyone they hire, or who go into restaurants and find a problem and raise hell, demand to talk to the manager, or boss the server around abusively.

Waiters, waitresses, store clerks, and other such workers who deal with the public as part of their jobs, become good at recognizing this trait.

You can also know exactly who someone is that you hire and still have them do a terrible job or not do it correctly.

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