October 29, 2006

Identity Theft and the Meta-You

For many years I have wrestled with the central conundrum of identity theft: how can you steal something that can’t be given away?

My attempt to limn an answer has brought me to advocate the legal construction of a new business entity. This entity would be established with the creation of a publicly-disclosed contract stipulating the details of a temporary transferal of identity from one person to another. (Prize for a name! Golem is taken.)

Think of the practical utility of, say, conferring your identity upon a tax expert with great bone structure and glowing skin to argue the merits of your defense to an IRS agent, appearing, not merely as your representative, but with the full legal and emotional impact of the actual you, as decreed by statute.

To put this idea into practice in advance of its widespread acceptance, I have resorted to a logical artifice that I call “James A. Friendly.” James A. Friendly shares every trait with me except one: James A. Friendly is not me. Ask him and he will assuredly agree, “I am most certainly NOT him!”, for this too is a trait we share.

Before James A. Friendly applies for a Discover card, I am issuing an open call to anyone with any special creative prowess in the areas of contract law or the establishment of offshore companies, in the interest of canonizing this most important tenet of the Information Age, won’t YOU step forward and BE the next James A. Friendly?

We both thank you.

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