Home Nick Givotovsky, Internet Identity Trailblazer, Dies at Age 44

Nick Givotovsky, Internet Identity Trailblazer, Dies at Age 44

Nick Givotovsky, a Connecticut based internet consultant and long time contributor to the digital identity community, died in an accident at his home on Friday at the age of 44. Givotovsky was an active member of the Data Portability Working Group, was a regular attendee of the Internet Identity Workshops and was Steward for the Identity Futures group in Identity Commons. He is recognized by both communities as a valued, respected and well liked contributor to many important efforts.

Author and consultant Doc Searls writes in a post memorializing Givotovsky that “Every encounter with Nick was engaging and mind-sharpening.” London entrepreneur, Ian Henderson, offers the following quote from Givotovsky, exemplifying his contribution to the digital rights conversation.

I believe we need explicit, uniform, enforceable, and yes, universal rights to our own user-related data. Not just for purposes of privacy, but so that individually and collectively we can use our leverage as rightful owners of what are in fact valuable assets to obtain and enforce a much better “digital deal”, not just for us, but for others not (yet) directly addressed here, who will have to deal with the consequences of our collective (in)actions.

There are indeed technologists fully qualified to architect the infrastructure to enable a better, more equitable, reciprocal, transparent and accountable digital realm, and they have to a large extent already built the tools and system. Now, the application of that prospective infrastructure to systems and services with the potential to change “the digital deal” from the user-centric perspective is what’s needed, and I hope, what’s next.

Going forward, the formulation, creation and assertion of binding identity rights agreements in the context of “leverage”, that in turn drives change enabled in the market by market forces, is the most pragmatic, short path to something better than a-shrug-a-click-and-a-sigh privacy statements.

It’s exactly the implementation of such use cases to which I think the most beneficial and productive (though not always the most immediately profitable) effort can, and should be devoted. We all need a better, fairer, more accountable and credible digital deal. If we are to be “digital citizens” should we not also know the real “digital deal”?

Givotovsky leaves behind a wife and two children.

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