Let us first understand what is a Digital Identity? and How Does Identity Work Today?
A digital identity is information on an entity used by computer systems to represent an external agent. That agent may be a person, organization, application, or device. In other words, we can say that Identity is a “set of attributes related to an entity”.
The information contained in a digital identity allows for assessment and authentication of a user interacting with a business system on the web, without the involvement of human operators. Digital identities allow our access to computers and the services they provide to be automated, and make it possible for computers to mediate relationships.
It means different to everything:
Companies often collect sensitive information about their users and store them alongside less-sensitive routine business data. This creates new business risks with the rise of user privacy-centric regulations such as GDPR and the shifting industry focus to corporate IT responsibility. When these data are relegated to tight-lipped data vaults, they become less useful in driving product improvements and attaining true customer understanding. Only after receiving large fines or developing stronger IT capabilities will many enterprises pursue expensive and risky projects to achieve the right balance between data security and business needs.
For IoT Devices
There are about 21 billion internet-connected devices. This number is expected to grow to 22 billion by 2025. In a still-nascent industry, most IoT technologies do not incorporate appropriate identity and access management capabilities, not unlike the early Internet which consisted solely of trusted institutions. Interconnected internet of things (IoT) devices and objects must identify sensors, monitors, and devices, and manage access to sensitive and non-sensitive data in a secure manner. Leading IT vendors have begun to offer IoT management systems to address these service gaps. For example, it is not uncommon for a single organization to have tens of thousands of IoT devices, in contrast to the mere dozens or hundreds of traditional servers and user devices. Mismatching standards across devices is a common ailment with such volume. Security frequently remains an afterthought to the already-taxing implementation of simple management capabilities at scale, evident with large-scale IoT hacking emerging as a vogue topic at top IT security conferences.
Identity is integral to a functioning society and economy. Having a proper way to identify ourselves and our possessions enables us to create thriving societies and global markets. At its most basic level, identity is a collection of claims about a person, place, or thing. For people, this usually consists of first and last name, date of birth, nationality, and some form of a national identifier such as passport number, social security number (SSN), driving license, etc. These data points are issued by centralized entities (governments) and are stored in centralized databases (central government servers).
Physical forms of identification aren’t widely available to every human for various reasons. Approximately 1.1 billion people worldwide don’t have a way to claim ownership over their identity. This leaves one-seventh of the world’s population in a vulnerable state – unable to vote in elections, own property, open a bank account, or find employment. The inability to attain identification documentation jeopardizes a person’s access to the financial system and in turn, limits their freedom.
Citizens with officially recognized forms of identification continue to lack complete ownership and control over their identities. They have a fragmented online identification experience and unknowingly lose the value that their data generates. Companies holding their data are subjected to frequent hacks, which forces a lifetime of fraud mitigation for the end-user. Once a social security number is issued and lost, there is little to no recourse.
Do you too feel that a digital identity is a must for everyone? Also, the security of one’s identity is also important? Do you think Blockchain can solve it?