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I think therefore I am – But how do I prove it?
These means of interacting electronically are now so pervasive and will only grow. Today our digital identity is becoming at least as important as the physical ones we are accustomed to, such as passports and driving licences. However, that digital identity is becoming fragmented beyond belief and with it comes risk.
Every time you use a new website to buy something, you enter all your details yet again. Sharing important personal and financial information is not to be taken lightly, yet it is becoming generally accepted practice – and the more people that know who you are, the more likely someone who shouldn’t will get hold of that information.
In the not too distant future there will have to be a fundamental shift in how personal identity is asserted and authenticated so that only the individual has access, with all other verification being made against that trusted single source.
The digital passport has been tried unsuccessfully in the past but the need for it is becoming ever more pervasive. As with physical passports, perhaps it can only be truly trusted as an extension of that existing government service.
Regardless of the mechanics, governments should surely be duty bound to protect their citizens in the digital as well as physical space, where they are spending an ever larger proportion of their time. While many won’t welcome further state intrusion on privacy, some entity will need to become the trusted authority of peoples’ digital identities rather than the scatter gun that exists today.