Category Archives: Uncategorized

Update from the Phoenix Plenary

Weeeeee’re back!

Thanks to the support of several people involved in IDESG (especially Bob Blakely), I was able to make the Phoenix IDESG plenary (large group discussion) for the first day. Thanks to interest from multiple parties (especially the Privacy Committee) we were able to have a four hour long discussion about NymRights and potential integration within NSTIC.

Among those joining the discussion in our group were myself, Eno, Angelique, Kaliya Hamlin, Bob Blakely, Jim Elste, Brett McDowell, and several others who I can’t remember. It was a very productive and educational discussion. We covered topics including but not limited to:

  • #nymwars (turns out most people still don’t know about that!)
  • Some terminology clarification– for example, “legal name” as opposed to “real name”
  • use cases, and examples of real, regular people who need or otherwise use nyms
  • How names are legally handled in the US versus other countries– the German law for pseudonyms came up, as well as McIntyre vs Ohio Election Commissions.
  • How NymRights might fit into IDESG/NSTIC.

After lots of discussion, pretty much everyone agreed that NymRights *is* an important issue to take into account, and we moved to step 2, figuring out how to integrate it within IDESG. This is going to be a much longer process, as there are many moving parts. But the good news is, we made progress, and people are listening!

The Dummies Guide to Joining NSTIC

The National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC) is an initiative by the Obama Administration to explore the current terrain of online identity and hopefully propose solutions for challenges everyone is facing. A key component of this which affects NymRights is how names work on the Internet (and elsewhere). If you care about names and want to make sure your voice and opinion is heard, please join NSTIC as a voting member (it is free!) and share your stories and why names matter to you. Our goal with NymRights is to show that name and nym rights are important to regular people. Also, you do not need to be a US Citizen to join NSTIC.

Since the process to join can be a little confusing, I’ve gone ahead and created some easy steps to follow:

  1. Go to this url: Choose “Voting Member” and “Individual Member” from the radio buttons.
  2. Ignoring the First/Last name structure, put your name. I put “aestetix” for a first name and “.” for a last name.
  3. For the “Employer Name”, put “Self”
  4. For “Stakeholder Group”, put “Small Business and Entrepreneurs”

Then click on submit. In theory, you’ll get an email receipt, and hear back in a few hours (or days) letting you know you’ve been accepted (hopefully!). Once you’ve gotten the acceptance email:

  1. Fill out the information on page 3 under “Member”. I recommend using the same name you put in the application form. I’m assuming this signature is mostly to make sure you’re a real person and not a machine.
  2. Send in the form. They have a fax number as well as an email address. I went ahead and emailed my completed form to the address, although I’m sure either method works.
  3. Get a beer (or non-alcoholic drink) of your choice, and cheers!

We need as many people as possible to register so that NSTIC/etc knows we’re real (and normal, regular, ordinary) people with something to contribute to the process.

Jan 16 Nymrights Meeting notes

We had a #nymrights meeting at sudo room attended by myself, Kaliya, woah, and Troy. We went over the basics of what nyms are, what NSTIC is, and what NymRights is all about. Our group also informally “voted” for me (aestetix) to be the Chair/leader of our working group within NSTIC. I’ve attached Kaliya’s rather unique and innovative notetaking style here to give an idea of all of what was discussed. Also,  thanks to woah for fine-tuning our new logo 🙂

We’ll likely be having some more discussion before I go to Shmoocon to give my talk, and of course, a report-back on how my talk goes.

Discussion of the structure of NSTIC:


The types of communities NSTIC is intended to serve/benefit:


Discussion on how to grow community:


Action items for the near future:


Oakland NymRights meetup 5:30pm 1/16 at sudo room

We’ll be meeting next Wednesday (Jan 16th) at sudo room, the new hackerspace in downtown Oakland, at 5:30pm. The address is 2141 Broadway (and 22nd), or just check out for directions. Anyone and everyone is welcome to join.

We have a lot to discuss, including the next steps for our NSTIC working group. Also, I (aestetix) will be giving at talk about nyms, online identity, NSTIC, etc at Shmoocon next month in Washington DC.

Notes from NymRights meetup at 29c3

We had a fantastic meetup at 29c3, the Chaos Computer Congress in Hamburg, Germany. Around 30 people attended, which is great considering it was not on any official lists (unless you count my twitter and signs posted around Congress). Everyone had something to contribute, and here are some of the highlights:

  • I went over a few key points from the identity talk I have been doing. Covered basic definitions, “what is a nym” (we still don’t know), names vs identity, Jung (rational vs emotional identity), and covered my diagrams of how identity might work better on the internet.[1]
  • Covered the basics of what NSTIC is, how NymRights works into NSTIC, and so on
  • General group discussion. Given this was Europe, I heard some new things about how names work in different countries, it might be worth exploring how implementations of naming systems differ across cultures.
  • Discussion on Facebook integration changing quality of comments on sites like Youtube. It was pointed out that there are context issues which must be considered, it’s not just names alone
  • We also attempted to create an “ideal names policy” for a website like Google or Facebook, and quickly ran into difficulties.

In general, the workshop was very well received, and everyone had an opinion of some sort on it. It’s worth noting that two interesting new names issues popped up while I was at Congress:

All in all, very fun times!

PS: it is worth noting that there are some upcoming NymRights related events, I will post an update on this list shortly.

[1] This is also available in the talk I gave recently at PhreakNIC:

NymRights workshop at 29c3

We will be having a “Nym Rights” workshop at 29c3, at 4pm on Day 3 in the Milliways assembly area (0x2g). If you are at the conference, please join our discussion!

Nym Rights is focused on making sure people are allowed to use their name of choice on the Internet. It is a derivative of the “nymwars” saga, wherein people were blocked from Google Plus for using names deemed “not real enough.” Nym Rights takes a new direction, focusing on enabling free speech and self-expression, making a positive effort to education the world on what a “nym” is and why recognizing nyms is important.

To further this effort, we’re creating a “Nym Rights” working group within NSTIC, a National Institute of Standards and Technology affiliated project targeted at online identity standards.

To join the larger discussion, subscribe to our mailing list: