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Future of digital identity programme summary - 19 mar 2019 lr


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How we prove that we are who or what we say we are during digital transactions and interactions is set to become one of the defining features of the next stage of the human digital transformation. Today, we are living with early attempts to solve the problem that are no longer fit for purpose. At best, the multitude of different ways we login, confirm our identities, and establish trust in claims made during digital exchanges, has become profoundly inconvenient. At worst, they have left us in a connected world which is neither safe nor secure, and in which we seem to have completely lost control of our most personal information. The next generation solutions to the digital identity challenge could change all of this.

At the end of 2018, Future Agenda undertook a major project exploring the Future of Digital Identity. With the generous support of Mastercard, the Future Agenda team ran a series of expert workshops in different locations around the world that explored the key factors that are likely to shape the future of digital identity. The programme began with an initial perspective as a provocation. Participants in the workshops then gave us new, more fully formed, insights which were in turn explored further during one-to-one interviews with major stakeholders and thinkers in the space.

We are proud to launch this report of the findings of that work

We would like to extend our sincerest thanks to all of those who contributed to the programme.

As always, we consider our reports to be the start point for further conversations, and would welcome further input. If you would like to join the conversation, you can join our LinkedIn Group here. If you have any further questions or would like to have a conversation about how your organisation can best make use of our respond to the implications of the Future of Digital Identity please contact
Dr Robin Pharoah,
James Alexander or
Patrick Harris

This is the initial perspective:
This was the initial summary:

Published in: Business
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Future of digital identity programme summary - 19 mar 2019 lr

  1. 1. The Future of Digital Identity – PROGRAMME SUMMARY Insights From Multiple Expert Discussions Around The World 19 March 2019
  2. 2. CONTENTS 03 Regional Comparison 04 Emerging Questions 01 Programme overview 02 Themes and Insights Communicating Identity Empowering the Individual System Design Ecosystem Development Social Identities Unintended Consequences
  4. 4. Future of Digital Identity - Programme Overview This is an emerging view of the Future of Digital Identity - based on multiple views collected during a 2018 Open Foresight programme made possible by the generous sponsorship of Mastercard. 3 | Analysis and synthesis • Identification of cross- cutting themes and areas of greatest impact over the next ten years 2 | Exploration and iteration • Expert workshops • Regional perspectives • Addition of new insights through collaborative dialogue 1 | initial perspective • Synthesis of existing Future Agenda insights • Interviews and desk research • Meaningful baseline for discussion Emerging view of the next ten years 01 02 03
  5. 5. Workshops in 5 Countries Across 4 Continents The programme has accessed more than 140 informed experts with discussion focused on the key shifts and drivers most likely to have an impact on the Future of Digital Identity, over the next decade. San Francisco London Singapore Sydney Brussels
  6. 6. Corporates Technology Firms Government Regulators, NGOs Academia, Research, Consulting Start-Ups Influencers & Associations Diverse, Informed Expert Perspective This Open Foresight programme has brought together under the Chatham House Rule, a wide range of participants with varied perspectives to help build a richer view of implications, risks and opportunities.
  7. 7. Project Summary Key insights from each of our five workshop locations. Percentage of population without any ID: Source: World Bank 2018; The report and data presents economy-level aggregates on the share and number of the population without a foundational/national ID, based on surveys covering over 100,000 people in 99 economies—representing 74 percent of the world’s population. >50% 20-50% 2-20% 0-2% Future of Digital Identity (2018/19) Locations and Key Insights Singapore 30 OCT 2018 Top Insights* • Setting the Standards • Enhanced Cyber-Security • Robust Authentication Equals Trust • Convenience Rules • The Case for Digital Inclusion Sydney 02 NOV 2018 Top Insights* • Management of Digital ID Rights • Super-Surveillance • Digital ID Accountability • The Big Fake • The Case for Digital Inclusion San Francisco 13 NOV 2018 Top Insights* • Null Attributes • Me, Myself and I • Verified But Incognito • Super-Surveillance • Digital ID Accountability London 15 OCT 2018 Top Insights* • Personalised Controlled Exchanges • Stateless Netizens • The Big Fake • Convenience Rules • The Case For Digital Inclusion Brussels 27 NOV 2018 Top Insights* • Social Scoring • Ethics By Design • Influence of Scale • Personalised Controlled Exchanges • The Case for Digital Inclusion % of Total Transactions That Were Recognised As Identity Spoofing REGION TOTAL Africa 16.5% Asia 12.8% Europe 7.6% Australia 6.8% South America 6.3% North America 5.6% Source: Threat Matrix Cybercrime Report - Q2 2018 *Top 5 insights according to their relative impact on Digital ID over the next decade
  9. 9. Thematic Lens Many of the insights generated have significant areas of overlap, both practical and theoretical. Their implications for DI stakeholders, and the ‘DI story’, become clearer when a cross-cutting thematic lens is applied. Communicating Identity Empowering the individual System design Unintended consequences Re-assessing self sovereignty Digital rights & consent The inclusion illusion System vulnerabilities Identity victims Building blocks still matter Growing standards Ethics by design Multiple bets Ecosystem development Social identities Power and influence Its social not technical Digital life stages Communicating Identity
  11. 11. Communicating Identity Digital Identity is a nebulous term that covers multiple technologies and digital and social interactions and transactions. Clarity around purpose, language, need, value and application is needed. • Digital Identity Literacy • Attributes Not Digital ID • Data IP Attribution • Proxy Digital IDs • Data Provenance • Secure Access Without Disclosure • Cost Reduction • Convenience Rules • Value Not Identity
  12. 12. Digital Identity Literacy A wholesale move toward Digital ID will require it’s own programme of education to teach people how to maintain and keep safe their Digital ID.
  13. 13. Attributes not Digital ID Users give permission for a third party to access the appropriate attribute mix required to complete a given exchange. ID may/may not feature.
  14. 14. Data IP Attribution Digital IDs enable the tracing of contribution of individual ‘chunks’ of data to data-driven services, allowing for all contributors to be recompensed.
  15. 15. Proxy Digital IDs As the pool of Personally Identifiable Information continues to grow, the need for Digital Identity reduces. Algorithms win the race for identity.
  16. 16. Data Provenance Digital ID enables provenance of all ‘owned data’ including data provided by, say, passive sensors in cars, much of which may not be personal at all.
  17. 17. Secure Access without Disclosure Driven by increased consumer awareness of continuing misuse, transacting while giving minimal (or no) information gains momentum.
  18. 18. Cost Reduction Digital ID enables service providers to reduce their transaction costs and accelerate the pace of innovation, both for them and for wider society.
  19. 19. Convenience Rules Continuing consumer appetite for convenience drives development of Digital ID, especially as many processes requiring formal ID feel so old-fashioned today.
  20. 20. Value, not Identity Consumers are only motivated to adopt Digital Identity through compelling use cases that deliver tangible value to them (e.g. time or cost saving).
  22. 22. Empowering the Individual This theme contains three sub sections: Re-assessing Self-Sovereignty, Digital Rights and Consent Management and The Inclusion Illusion.
  23. 23. Re-Assessing Self-Sovereignty The data-driven world has already led to a loss of individual agency. The advent of AI may accelerate this trend. Digital Identity could help us to re-assert our sovereignty and agency in a data-driven world. • Me, Myself and I • Erosion of Agency • Personalised Controlled Exchanges • Self-Sovereign ID • Personal Gatekeeping • Balanced Proof of Identification • Zero-Knowledge Proofs • Verified but Incognito
  24. 24. Me, Myself and I Digital ID users maintain deliberately separated identities and attribute stores. Providers offer context-based, Digital-ID-as-a-service solutions.
  25. 25. Erosion of Agency Consumer comfort in outsourcing agency to ‘things’ drives a rich market of data driven technology deciding for us. Erosion of human agency results.
  26. 26. Personalised, Controlled Exchanges Digital ID gives people greater control over access to their personal data, and encourages transparency of service-providers in onward use.
  27. 27. Self-sovereign ID Calls for self-sovereign digital ID - or the ‘controlled sharing’ principles on which it is based - are likely to increase, as are attempts to build it.
  28. 28. Personal Gatekeeping Consent management systems and platforms emerge to help individuals more easily ‘trust in an otherwise trustless system (of machines)’.
  29. 29. Balanced Proof of Identification Digital users become more demanding about ensuring they ‘get as well as they give’ with regard to verification of those whom they choose to engage.
  30. 30. Zero Knowledge Proofs Future Digital Identities will include attributes that are harder to mimic or steal. Authentication will occur without data exchange, limiting the data at risk.
  31. 31. Verified but Incognito For more private contexts and use-cases, properly authenticated, but wholly anonymous identities are deployed within the Digital ID eco-system.
  32. 32. Digital Rights and Consent Management Digital Identity rights could become fundamental human rights. DI implementations could also become the means by which we exercise wider emerging data rights. • Digital Rights Management • Transparent Exchange • Assertion of My Digital Rights • Management of Digital ID rights • Digital ID as a Fundamental Human Right • The Un-Digital
  33. 33. Digital Rights Management Digital ID provides the vehicle for managing digital rights – when to be anonymous, when to be seen, when its ok to be monitored, etc.
  34. 34. Transparent Exchange Digital ID drives transparency in the value exchange between consumers and services, curtailing current ’surveillance capitalism’ business models.
  35. 35. Assertion of My Digital Rights A DI Bill of Rights is already demanded by many. How this is built, by who, what it includes, and critically, how it is enforced, will be hotly contested.
  36. 36. Management of Digital ID Rights As Digital ID becomes part of society’s critical infrastructure, rules emerge on how access rights can be given, taken away, redressed and restored.
  37. 37. Digital ID as a Fundamental Human Right Digital Identity becomes a fundamental human right. Governments ensure both access and equity for all, while business is made to respect this right. Image courtesy of: Interaction Institute for Social Change | Artist: Angus Maguire
  38. 38. The Un-Digital With the arrival of Digital ID rights comes the inalienable right to be non-digital, and the need to serve the ‘Digital Amish’ who choose to opt out.
  39. 39. The Inclusion Illusion Those needing access to basic services constitute a meaningful audience for Digital ID, and are likely to be enthusiastic early-adopters, despite being a non-traditional target for commercial organisations. • Digital Identity - The First Wave • Stateless Netizens • Digital Citizenship • The Case For Digital Inclusion
  40. 40. Digital Identity - The First Wave Early adopters will include those who need to become familiar with Digital ID in order to access basic (digitally adapting) government services.
  41. 41. Stateless Netizens Digital ID for some (e.g. displaced peoples) becomes more important than citizenship, leading to societal groups based on new, shared attributes.
  42. 42. Digital Citizenship Digital IDs issued at birth and/or multi-lateral and global bodies issuing and protecting Digital ID, gives greater meaning and usefulness to them.
  43. 43. The Case for Digital Inclusion Digital ID systems will go some way towards addressing access and exclusion issues of the 1 billion+ people lacking legal identity documents.
  45. 45. System Design This theme contains three subsets of The Basic Building Blocks Still Matter, Growing Standards and Integrating Ethics.
  46. 46. The Basic Building Blocks Still Matter Interoperability is likely to emerge first in regard to authentication and verification, with interoperability around identity attributes lagging behind and influenced by it. • Something Owned, Something Known, Something You • New Bio-Metric Fingerprints • Trust Cocktails • Robust Authentication Equals Trust
  47. 47. Something Owned, Something Known, Something You Authentication typically features something you own, you know and you are. Innovating unique identifiers leads to new ways of thinking about who we are.
  48. 48. New Biometric Fingerprints New identity markers, including our ‘routines’, prove useful in detecting fraud, especially where AI sees changes in behavioural patterns.
  49. 49. Trust Cocktails As ‘things’ are given Digital IDs, people are no longer certain of who or what they are trusting - app, service, device or person - or if they should care.
  50. 50. Robust Authentication Equals Trust Strong authentication processes will be the key factor in determining overall levels of trust in the reliability and security of a given Digital ID system.
  51. 51. Growing Standards Digital Identity standards will begin to emerge, with pace-setters reaping early benefits. But with first-mover advantage will come responsibility and accountability. • Implementation Matters • Setting the Standards • Digital ID Accountability • Regulations on the Fly
  52. 52. Implementation Matters Poor implementations will lead to massive data breaches, damaging faith in Digital ID service providers, or even the Digital ID concept as a whole.
  53. 53. Setting the Standards First-movers will develop standards for basis of global Digital ID systems. Consumers and governments decide the winners (e.g. Betamax vs VHS).
  54. 54. Digital ID Accountability Clear accountability and good data stewardship is seen as key. Strong punishment emerges in response to Digital ID misuse and reputation damage.
  55. 55. Regulation on the Fly Digital ID will land and expand very quickly. Regulators will be faced with the task of ‘building the aeroplane whilst flying it’.
  56. 56. Integrating Ethics The field of Digital Identity is nascent enough that building truly ethical principles and systems is still possible, helping to avoid negative unintended consequences. • Ethics By Design • Unified Digital ID Ethical Principles • Hyper Accurate Advertising • Super-Surveillance • Social Scoring
  57. 57. Ethics by Design Sensitivity of Digital ID data, and the potential for catastrophic or malign mis-use, drives ‘ethical by design’ standards that go beyond compliance.
  58. 58. Unified Digital ID Ethical Principles Digital ID ethics will follow the bio-ethics lead with foundational principles: e.g. Beneficence, Non-maleficence, Autonomy and Justice (and Explicability).
  59. 59. Hyper-accurate Advertising Users practiced in social media’s ‘data for advertising’ model, consent to sharing their ID for this purpose, resulting in hyper accurate advertising.
  60. 60. Super-surveillance Digital ID’s highly accurate and relatively clean surveillance data, will lead to mass surveillance in some states and market economies.
  61. 61. Social Scoring Digital ID attributes enable monitoring of ‘good behaviour’ e.g. carbon footprint tracking. In the hands of some, this evolves into social scoring.
  63. 63. Ecosystem Development This theme contains two subsets: Multiple Bets and Power and Influence.
  64. 64. Multiple Bets Different players in the Digital ID space come with differing priorities, visions and business models, each with different implications for future opportunities and markets. • New Digital ID Markets • Expanding Digital Service Provision • Data-less Business Models • Blueprint for Success • Many Internets • IoT Leads IoP
  65. 65. New Digital ID markets Digital ID has the potential to play a critical role in social and economic life. A new range of economic opportunities and markets will emerge around it.
  66. 66. Expanding Digital Service Provision With growing numbers of digital delivered services, Digital ID will enable an expansion of access to different, and new kinds, of service providers.
  67. 67. Data-less Business Models Innovations allow users to give access to data without sharing it. New models centre on positive, privacy-preserving, consumer propositions.
  68. 68. Blueprint for Success Global financial transactions and payments infrastructures will provide us with the ‘blueprint’ for building a truly interoperable Digital ID system.
  69. 69. Many Internets Lacking a single global solution, the internet splits into different realms: e.g. Open-Internet, Dark Internet and Internet Islands (local Digital ID systems).
  70. 70. IoT Leads IoP Commercial use cases for ‘things’ creates identity and attribute frameworks and infrastructure for objects. These are then applied to people.
  71. 71. Power and Influence As Digital Identity systems and networks emerge, power and influence will come to rest in different locations depending on different models. • Centralised or Distributed Digital Identity Systems? • Finders Keepers, Losers Weepers • Expanding Roles • Digital ID Platforms • Digital ID Federations • Influence of Scale • Aussie Rules
  72. 72. Centralised or Distributed Digital Identity Systems? Distributed implementation removes concerns of trust in single entities. Centralised systems bring uptake and interoperability. Nation states decide.
  73. 73. Finders Keepers, Losers Weepers Highly centralised Digital ID systems, provide potential for identity ‘keepers’ to hold vast amounts of user data across myriad different contexts.
  74. 74. Expanding Roles Roles/responsibilities in Digital ID systems grow from today’s verifiers and trust partners to legal guardians, delegated authorities, AI brokers, etc.
  75. 75. Digital ID Platforms Brokers emerge to help individuals easily manage their use of multiple ID’s, profiles and attributes across different contexts.
  76. 76. Digital ID Federations As with airline alliances (e.g. Star Alliance), Digital ID Federations form linking together Attribute Suppliers and different Digital ID Providers.
  77. 77. Influence of Scale China’s super apps and India Stack are already expanding into, and influencing, other geographies. Digital ID tech will ‘follow the money’.
  78. 78. Aussie Rules Learning from mistakes of others, and positioning itself as a leader in terms of cross-sector cooperation, Australia sets western Digital ID benchmarks.
  80. 80. Social Identities This theme contains two subsets: It’s Social not Technical and Digital Life Stages.
  81. 81. It's Social Not Technical Digital Identity is largely seen as a technical challenge, but ID and Identity are about social relationships and will thus bring attendant complexities into their digital realisation. • Local Digital Citizenship • Merging of Identity and ID • From Tech to Society • Digital ID as Belonging
  82. 82. Local Digital Citizenship Distrust of surveillance and distant institutions leads to hyper-local identity and authentication by the people we know and communities we live in.
  83. 83. Merging of Identity and ID As ID management and attribute systems collect more detailed digital user histories, our Identity and ID will merge, with unknowable consequences.
  84. 84. From Tech to Society Today Digital ID is a tech challenge. Pressure increases for it to be managed as a social challenge with tech held accountable for decisions made today.
  85. 85. Digital ID as Belonging Just as individuals identify with others (e.g. location, faith, custom) in society, so it is in the digital space. Cultural and social sensitivities remain key.
  86. 86. Digital Life Stages Digital Identity creators will need to think hard about the full life-cycle of a digital identity and how it will incorporate the changes, life-stages and rituals of human life-cycles. • Right to be Forgotten • Immortal ID
  87. 87. Right to be Forgotten The right to be forgotten is increasingly recognised in a world with digital memories. Implementation in Digital ID eco-systems is a significant challenge.
  88. 88. Immortal ID Immortal IDs form - the sum of our digital histories and a collection of all digital attributes. But who owns and controls them? Under what consent?
  90. 90. Unintended Consequences This theme contains two subsets: System Vulnerabilities and Digital Identity Victims.
  91. 91. System Vulnerabilities Digital Identity systems are potentially both a solution, and a new frontline, in the battle for cyber security. They could re-define and re-shape approaches to cyber risk, defense and attack. • Re-evaluation of Cyber Risk • Enhanced Cyber-Security • Avoiding Honeypots • The Big Fake • Null Attributes
  92. 92. Enhanced Cyber Security Strong and secure systems of digital identification will play a significant role in enhancing cyber security for individuals, organisations and states.
  93. 93. Avoiding Honeypots The need for cyber protection ensures that distributed data models prevail over those that seek centralization, except in authoritarian regimes.
  94. 94. Re-evaluation of Cyber-risk Breaches to digital ID systems have the potential to cause catastrophic damage. Organisations will radically re-evaluate their investment to mitigate it.
  95. 95. The Big Fake Fake Digital IDs, unlike fake passports, have the potential to be used in many contexts at the same time, scaling up the consequences involved.
  96. 96. Null-attributes Identity attributes, currently understood as unique (e.g. fingerprint) become unusable or ‘null’ as they are exposed in continued breaches.
  97. 97. Digital Identity Victims History teaches us that formalising identity can lead to great atrocities and countless victims. The data and applications associated with Digital Identity carry high risk for individuals, states and societies. • Competing Interest Areas • Identity Victims • Offsetting Unintended Consequences • Benefits of Catastrophe • The Cost of Convenience • Increased Accountability Removed Honeypots – as also in System Vulnerabilities sections – presume we want to d-dupe
  98. 98. Competing Interest Areas A battle for ‘ownership’ of the identity space grows, highlighting ideologies: e.g. social good, economic opportunity, privacy, national security, social order.
  99. 99. Identity Victims History is littered with horrific examples of the consequences of formally assigning identity markers (race, religion etc.). Digital ID will be no different.
  100. 100. Offsetting Unintended Consequences Specialist thinking emerges, particularly sociological, around the potential unintended consequences of rapid deployment and adoption of Digital ID.
  101. 101. Benefits of Catastrophe Digital ID catastrophe is almost inevitable, but will be a stimulus to drive positive changes in awareness of secure identity and authentication.
  102. 102. The Cost of Convenience Convenience remains as a core driver, but with the cost of teaching poor behaviours, e.g., learning laziness, path of least resistance, etc.
  103. 103. Increased Accountability Digital ID increases accountability in public online spaces, where online behaviours can be traced back to offline identities.
  105. 105. Regional Comparison – Top 5 The chart shows those insights which featured in the ‘top 5’ according to relative impact on Digital ID over the next ten years, in at least one of the workshops. San Francisco • Null Attributes • Me, Myself and I • Verified But Incognito • Super-Surveillance • Digital ID Accountability Sydney • Management of Digital ID Rights • Super-Surveillance • Digital ID Accountability • The Big Fake • The Case for Digital Inclusion London • Personalised Controlled Exchanges • Stateless Netizens • The Big Fake • Convenience Rules • The Case For Digital Inclusion Brussels • Social Scoring • Ethics By Design • Influence of Scale • Personalised Controlled Exchanges • The Case for Digital Inclusion Singapore • Setting the Standards • Enhanced Cyber-Security • Robust Authentication Equals Trust • Convenience Rules • The Case for Digital Inclusion
  107. 107. Some Key Questions for Digital ID Stakeholders • Who are the other key digital identity stakeholders that can help enable our vision? • What role do we wish to play in the identity ecosystem? • How should we understand the purpose of Digital ID and how do we build to reflect that? • How does personal data mesh with machine data? • What is our ethical position regarding digital identity? • How can we contribute to the prevention of unintended and negative long-term consequences?
  108. 108. Some Key Questions for Industry • In a world of Digital ID, will customers still want to share data with us? • How will we ensure that we are ‘trustworthy’? • What data do we need to collect in the future? • How will we be able to comply when customers assert digital rights? • Can we develop new, privacy-preserving customer propositions? • What potential new products and services does widespread adoption of Digital ID unlock? • How can we benefit from increased cybersecurity and better accountability in digital transactions? • Do we need to understand the impacts of Digital ID on our business models better?
  109. 109. Some Key Questions for Government and Regulators • Would a government mandate around Digital ID help to accelerate the benefits of a secure and interoperable ID system? • How should we properly regulate Digital ID systems, and how can we ensure we create a dynamic and responsive regulatory environment for Digital ID? • What kind of identity ecosystem do we wish to support? • What role will Government data about individuals play? • How can we ensure that digital identity benefits all of society? • How do we ensure that no citizen is excluded? • What steps must we take to prevent unintended consequences? • How can we think about the ethics of digital identity early? • How can access to and delivery of public services be improved by widespread adoption of Digital ID?
  110. 110. Some Key Questions for Individuals and Society • How can my personal digital information facilitate my life? • How will I manage my digital attributes? • Who do I trust to help me do this? • Do I want my personal data to help society? • What are my digital rights and who protects them? • When do I want and need to be identified and when can I remain anonymous? • How can I better understand the role my data plays in a digital society and economy?
  111. 111. What Do You Think? As an open foresight programme we would welcome your thoughts to help build a stronger perspective. What do you agree or disagree with, what is missing and what will be the key impacts and implications? Thank you.
  112. 112. Future Agenda, 84 Brook Street, London W1K 5EH +44 203 0088 141 | | @futureagenda