Digital Identity and Ownership

Who owns a digital identity? In the real world, a name does not uniquely identify someone. We are happy to share the same name with someone else. On the web, our pseudonyms generally need to be unique within whatever service we are using. This can cause [conflicts](, and they are difficult to resolve. What if there are several people that want to use jergason as a nickname online? I was there first, but is that the only way to decide? What if there is a company named jergason? Do they have more of a right to the name than I do? One solution is some kind of centralized internet ID that uniquely identifies everyone, with each service pointing back to the ID. That seems a little Orwellian. Any ideas for a better solution?