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.
In the short term, new solutions are likely to move us towards the promise of a single Digital ID that allows us to simply, safely and securely navigate a connected world.
Looking further forward, the changes could be even more profound. The ways that we digitally manage, share and verify our personal information could well come to completely redefine the human digital experience. Current digital business models that seem immutable could collapse. Centres of digital power might shift radically. And the current personal data ‘land grab’ could be replaced by a new digital norm in which individuals can finally make meaningful claims to data ownership and control.
However, there are a number of potentially calamitous pitfalls to navigate along the way. Some of these could lead to whole new kinds of digital dystopia.
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.
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