The extent of self-control over e-portfolios and digital identities is a complex issue. Many people argue that control over one’s self-portrait on the web should be entirely in the owner’s hands, not managed by HEIs, Google, et al. In this vein, Serge Ravet also expressed the view that “we want to choose the [digital] masks we want to wear”.
It’s a fact of life that our identities are never solely controlled by ourselves, neither in the real world nor digitally. My health record is with the NHS authorities and insurance companies; my driving record, age, and sex with my car insurance; and I can only guess the amount of information held by my bank, the mortgage company, Interpol, passport agency, army, tax office, etc.
However, if we just for a moment leave aside the biased word “control”, then these external views on my “self” (as opposed to my self-published “ego”) are equally if not more important to my identity then my own when it comes to social currency, identity validation and the building of trust regarding my persona. This makes it entirely undesireable to self-control all aspects of the digital me.
Being able to have self-portraits validated by external views, formally and informally, is important also for self analysis and learning about how others see me. Personally, I find it more interesting what others write about myself than what I present in self-reflection. In many ways external views mirror the information we present to specifically this data audience (e.g. via tax forms, or via SEO to Google). The added value lies in that the information is undergoing verification/evaluation processes of some sort applied by the provider. It is these processes that add currency (for better or worse).
Then, as Serge says, there is the matter of personal choice. Using “masks” to slip into a different persona is a choice one may take. In the digital world this is rather easier than in the real world. SecondLife is a good example of being able to mask your identity and explore other views on the world.
In conclusion, I see the ideal identity concept in the fair balance between control of data and choice. If choice and self-determination is the preferred option (as it would be to me) then controlled data can be regarded as a means to validate that choice. It can come in the guise of authorities, communities, customers or verifiable artifacts.