Mistaken Identities

25-minute Talk

Come learn about the Incredible Journey of Two Common Names Online

Virtual Pass session

Timetable

11:45 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Friday 22nd

Room

Room F2 - Track 2: Talks

Audience

Anyone in tech, even more so if interested in user onboarding/offboarding and identity.

Key-Learning

  • Improve your users onboarding and offboarding journey, many suggestions such as a “This wasn’t me” button in every email
  • Learn what to do with wrongly sent sensitive information.
  • Understand better options for online identity management
  • Design good checks & validations for you user identity flows

What happens when two technerds with common names claim first.lastname email addresses?

Let us set the scene. Early 2000's gmail is beta. João and Sanne lay claim to what for the times are very boring email addresses. Our younger selves could never have foreseen that we were now in for a lifetime of frustration…and fun.

You see, everyone else with the same name thinks they own our addresses, and for reasons we will will never truly know they insist on using them for their online presence.

What does that mean exactly?

  • Social networks that keep welcoming us to their platforms. Trust me, we’ve never joined.
  • Interesting profiles to date that we never asked for. Try explaining that to your significant other? No, honey, really it wasn’t me!
  • Then the more serious and troubling, the doctor’s notes, banking statements, credit card bills, payroll providers etc. you name it, we’ve seen it. We even have stories about us being mistaken for very important public figures!

And while we do have a lot of very funny stories to tell from our online lives, if you stop to think about the legal implications of some of those… things can get scary!

How can an email address have so much power? From our experience it is about online identity management. Companies often overlook the complex social dynamics that go into common cultural names. And in a Software Testing world, overlooking those dynamics is easy to do yet to so very costly to us personally!

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