I’m right now at an Identity Management Workshop organized by the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard and the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford. It’s a pretty heady mix of policy and technology discussion, and generally quite fascinating, but one of my favourite parts so far has been Jennifer Martinez‘s overview of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as it applies to identity and privacy.

I hadn’t really ever read it in detail, but it’s quite an amazing document, especially considering that it’s been so widely ratified, if not always honoured. One part I especially enjoyed was 29.1:

Article 29.
(1) Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.

That element resonated with me in a number of pleasing ways, and Mozilla is certainly one of them. We serve the community, and work to preserve our right and ability to serve the community, because that community provides a context in which we can serve ourselves, and help to shape the world as we feel it should be. Whether that’s Adam Smith’s invisible hand, a divinely-inspired act of charity, or an artifact of our evolved neurochemistry — that I couldn’t tell you. But I’m sure glad that it seems to work well, and that I’m able to participate in it.

(Edit: Jennifer Martinez is not Jennifer Granick, though they are both very nice people.)