Paul A. Bernal on “The Right to Online Identity” (@PaulbernalUK)

Paul A. Bernal (University of East Anglia (UEA) – Norwich Law School: Twitter: @PaulbernalUK and website : has posted a working paper entitled, “The Right to Online Identity”. Here’s the abstract:

If people have a right to internet access then should they have a right to an online identity? This paper will suggest that such a right should exist – and will look at the form that it might take, how it might be brought into practice, and what the implications of such a right might be in terms of the form and functions of the internet in the future. In particular, it will be suggested that the right to identity has three components: the right to create an online identity, the right to assert that online identity, and the right to protect that online identity.

Online identity needs to be looked on as something more complex than a matter of authentication of a link from an online actor to a real person – online identities are complex, multifaceted and constantly developing, and with both similarities and significant differences from ‘real-world’ identities. In order to understand how online identity should be treated from a legal perspective that complexity and those similarities and differences need to be better understood and taken properly into account.

A copy of the paper is available for download via SSRN here.

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