Ethical behaviour, which is part of the foundation of identities as well as that it is the ground for how people live together, is based in the physical experience as is argued by Damasio (Damasio 2004). Because of the more and more ubiquitous surveillance and identification technologies, some elements of the physical identity have become digitized and have literally moved out of our reach. Autonomy, to be able to safeguard one's physical, social and psychological well-being, is jeopardized comprehensively for people with an identity, as well as people without an identity.
When a person has an identity it is hard or impossible to control this identity in all the databases that execute information that affects a person's life. A person fills in forms and sends facts and data to certain organizations, but one does not know by who, where and for what purpose one's digital data concerning one's identity is used. We are not informed when our data is matched, reformatted or deleted. The fact that I cannot control my 'data-identity' in all databases, that I am not informed about what is done with data concerning me, that I do not know how and where and by whom I am under surveillance, is too disturbing to handle. I cannot retrieve my data from the variety of systems, and the way systems are designed implies that I have no control. My inclination is to take care of myself, to cherish my autonomy. But the systems do not allow me to take care of myself in this way. So I am forced to take a moral distance from myself. I have hardly an opportunity to act upon my own survival and well-being when the systems produce 'collateral' damage. The effect of scale on moral distance is an issue worth studying in itself; one I cannot address in the context of this study. Because many people have to operate in crowds and large data-clouds during their day-to day lives, this issue requires rigorous further research.