Of all aspects of our digital lives, our digital identity is maybe the least talked about. Hi, most of us don’t even what exactly that means (and for you guys I have a number of great resources on the links page). But it is definitely one of the most important problems that are left to be solved in cyberspace.
Some of you might question my statement above – if this is such a big problem then why are most people unaware of it? Well, the answer is that like many other innovations, we think of the current situation as given, a fact of life. So we accept many limitations to our digital life:
– That we need to manage dozens of different passwords, and type in the same personal details over and over again in order to register for online services
– That we can’t open a bank account or a library card online
– That we can’t prove our address or age online, and need to send out utility bills or wait for an activation code to arrive by post
– That we can’t know the real identity of the person who’s selling us a TV on eBay
– and Finally, that our personal data is harvested and used without our consent and not always to our benefit
All those problems can be solved. Actually, many companies, from small start-ups to the likes of IBM and Google, are working on solving them right now. Some say there is an overarching solution, while others focus on a specific area. The more visionary ones don’t just try to solve current problems, but also take us to new places. But for all of them, the key is creating a user-centric digital identity – one identity that we control and use for any digital service.
But any way you look at it, there is a long way to go before this happens. It involves technology, trust, standards and money. The discussion only started and there are no right answers yet. One of the most important of issues is one of the least developed, and this is the business case for digital identity. As one of those who are entrusted with making that case, I hope I can contribute to the discussion and help progress it.
And – This is my first foray into the blogging sphere, so I’m very open to comments, suggestions and anything that can make this blog more interesting and helpful.