Erasing David

Identity

The film begins with David on a train, reflecting on the fact that the government have lost the details of his identity. In this context, identity seems simple enough – his name, his address, his bank account details.

But identity is undeniably about more than this. Do we really only have one identity? Or do we have several? How are these identities constructed? The film raises the question not merely of how identities are constructed, but who constructs them. In short, are you solely responsible for your own identity? Is the impression conveyed by the information on your Facebook or Bebo page ‘you’? Or is there more, which – to paraphrase Toon Vanagt – you choose not to reveal.

How much of your identity is constructed by others? And is it possible that – even using only information you have given them – they could construct that identity in a way you might find unfamiliar? As Professor Timothy Garton-Ash states in the film, on its own one bit of information may not hurt you, but a number of pieces paint of picture. Is it necessarily a picture you like?

  • HOW MANY KINDS OF IDENTITY DO YOU HAVE? Legal and cultural are two kinds. Can you think of any others?

  • THE UK IDENTITY CARD SCHEME Construct your own identity card. What kind of information should such a document hold? How much is too much? And how do you decide what is too much?

  • IDENTITY THEFT is an often-discussed crime; evaluate your own security by looking at how much information you give away on the internet.

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