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Identity and Privacy: Past, Present, and Digital - Brenda K. Leong


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Brenda K. Leong, Senior Counsel & Director of Strategy of the Future of Privacy Forum, will talk about Identity and Privacy. The problem of whether private citizens should be required to have government-issued documentation (verifying their personal identity in order to access goods and services, seek employment, travel, or obtain government benefits), long predates the current discussions related to digital identity systems, the use of biometrics, or platforms like blockchain. But whether past or present, these challenges are all based on the question of how to balance government efficiencies and national security against protections for individual freedoms and liberty.

Underlying this conversation is the concept of privacy. Is it a fundamental right? What does it mean? Who gets to decide which conveniences are worth the tradeoffs they require? Are the protections for personal data offered by policy and law sufficient, or should technical and security protections be required? Are some systems simply too high-risk to implement regardless of perceived benefits? To answer those questions, it’s important to understand the technologies at work – biometrics such as fingerprints and facial recognition offer greater reliability, security and certainty, but raise fears of “permanent” breach if the personal data is compromised. These systems offer accessibility at scale that can be updated throughout a lifetime in a way that password-based accounts cannot equal. But fair access to all, protections of personal data, and most importantly, legal, policy, and technical protections against discrimination and abuse are critical to ensuring these and related technologies are not simply used to restrict personal freedom, or target groups and other populations. Brenda covers how these and other aspects of the modern concept of “digital identity” are being approached in different ways, and what some of the benefits and risks are for the future.

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Identity and Privacy: Past, Present, and Digital - Brenda K. Leong

  1. 1. Identity and Privacy – Past, Present, and Digital Brenda K. Leong, Senior Counsel & Director of Strategy Future of Privacy Forum
  2. 2. 1. Empower global SSI communities 2. Open to everyone interested in SSI 3. All content is shared with CC BY SA Alex Preukschat @SSIMeetup @AlexPreukschat Coordinating Node SSIMeetup objectives
  3. 3. Who is FPF? The Members 130+ Companies 25+ Leading Academics 10+ Advocates The Mission Bridging the policymaker-industry-academic gap in privacy policy Developing privacy protections, ethical norms, and workable business practices The Workstreams Ethics De-identification Smart Cities IoT/Connected Toys Connected Cars Student Data Health Location & Ad Tech Artificial Intelligence Biometrics
  4. 4. “When a place gets crowded enough to require ID's, social collapse is not far away. It is time to go elsewhere. The best thing about space travel is that it made it possible to go elsewhere.” - Robert Heinlein
  5. 5. “By 2030, provide legal identity for all, including birth registration.” - UN Sustainable Development Goals
  6. 6. To Credential or Not to Credential* •Creation •Verification •Authentication •Authorization •Federation * World Bank estimates over 1.1B people who cannot prove their identity
  7. 7. Passports Were Once Offensive • Only Letters of Introduction for elites • Rendered reputation irrelevant • Affront to “dignity of the traveler” • Culture of distrust and documentation • “The State’s creature”
  8. 8. National Identity System • Unique ID of individual citizens • Universal medical care • Combat ID theft • Census for allocation of services • Suppression • Political repression • Individual troublemakers • Ethnic groups
  9. 9. Cultural Values •Community v. individual autonomy •High-income Countries •Identify terrorist and NS threats •Target people for minor infractions •Low-income Countries •Government efficiencies •Deliver goods and services
  10. 10. In the U.S. - REAL ID Concerns: • State v. Federal • Individual freedom • Anonymity • Data requirements • Sharing across states
  11. 11. Current Reality • Photo ID required now; frequently 2 forms • Separate IDs for library, credit, travel • Many becoming digital – passwords… • National IDs already in many countries • Argentina, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Peru, Spain • ID number , used for many purposes • Extensive personal data
  12. 12. Digital ID Challenges • Accuracy • Security • Government Abuse • Privacy
  13. 13. Digital Opportunities • New channels for human interaction • Personal data is transportable • Real-time value of information • Financial inclusion/unbanked • Est. 63% of population worldwide owns a mobile phone
  14. 14. System Challenges •Authentication Infrastructure • Cost, interoperability •Accessibility • Institutional and individual •Reliability • Leakage, fraud
  15. 15. Biometric Systems • Type – fingerprint, facial recognition • Comparisons – passwords; tokens • Accuracy – edge cases • Cost – implementation; long term • Security – spoofing; risk valuations
  16. 16. Privacy Protections •Regulatory • Data protection laws • Independent oversight • Appeals and recourse •Technical safeguards • Distributed or decentralized data • On-device standards •Market competition • Competitive opportunities
  17. 17. EU ID Cards EDPS Opinion 7/2018 – Proposal to Strengthen security of ID cards • ID cards and residence documents • Proposal includes facial image & fingerprints • Biometric data are sensitive data • Mandatory fingerprinting – “strict necessity” • GDPR impact • Safeguards against national databases • Delete immediately; no image on chip • Anti-fraud doesn’t justify 2 biometrics • Concerns for children
  18. 18. We Can’t Go to Space (yet), So… •Awareness •Public-private engagement •Diverse voices included •Oversight •Human Rights
  19. 19. Identity and Privacy – Past, Present, and Digital Brenda K. Leong, Senior Counsel & Director of Strategy Future of Privacy Forum