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Waqas Halim

Waqas Halim is an Assistant Professor in Information Technology University, Lahore, Pakistan. His areas of interest lie at the intersection of use of technology and its implication on society. He heads the Centre for Technology in Governance at ITU and teaches courses related to Technology and Society. Waqas holds a Masters from Columbia University and is a Fulbright Scholar. He is a lawyer in addition to his above mentioned work.

Who Am I, Digitally? Constructing Digital Identity: New Frontiers of Human Identity in Cyber Cultures

With the ubiquitous nature of technology, a need for identity in virtual spaces is exceedingly becoming essential. This essentialization process affords an ontological and epistemic problem – a problem about the constitution of our identity in digital spheres. The problem becomes more accentuated when major technology giants focus on digital identity as a form of ‘identification’ for their services. The digital footprint and our online activities consolidate into the formation of identity process as we leave our imprints on the cyber space – in turn, our identity is informed and influenced by everything that we perceive, interact with and respond to. This process of using virtual identity and forming selfhood on the basis of self-image online is a new phenomenon. The interdisciplinary research aims to survey the dominating theories about identity and selfhood in relation to the genesis and formation of specificities of digital identity. Furthermore, it deploys applications of critical theories to problematize the contemporary understanding about the idea of digital identity and its distinctions from the originally understood concept of identity. In essence, the research intends to investigate the paradoxical nature of digital contradictions in various layers of identifications. The initial research finding suggests that the digital disruptions have caused major metamorphosis of identity across various aspects of online interactions and, as a result, our notions of collective as well as individual identities have transformed. Based on focus groups in Pakistan from corporate organizations to social groups as well individuals, the research aims to unpack the real nature of digital identity and how it has/will impact our future self – online as well offline.