Every citizen of each country needs to have a legal identity for the government to be able to deliver financial benefits as well as healthcare and other socio-economic services.
Government-issued digital identities are one’s legal identity. A legal identity typically is in the form of passports, birth certificates, and national identity cards and is the recognition of an individual by the state. A legal identity affords you access to services offered by the government and private providers; like travel, bank accounts, and educational opportunities.
Several innovative technologies are leading the world economy into digital transformation. One of the most emerging technology trends is in the field of digital identity. The Identification for Development (ID4D) is an initiative by the World Bank that aims to help countries realize the transformational potential of the digital identification system.
With the use of the right technology, the identification system can be integrated into the domains of finance, governance, healthcare, and social protection. It will enable people to access services and exercise their rights easily with their digital identity.
Digital ID impact on economy:
Countries around the world are putting their best foot forward to get an efficient digital ID system in place for their citizens.
The United States of America already has a system called the social security number in effect. It is a nine-digit number that keeps track of an individual’s earnings and years of employment through this number. It helps in opening accounts with financial institutions, applying for federal loans, applying for unemployment benefits, enrolling for any medicare or Medicaid services, applying for a passport or driver’s license, and filing taxes.
Sweden’s BankID system can be used as proof of identification as well as for signing documents and transactions. The signature made with BankID is legally binding within the European Union according to Swedish Law.
India has its own digital identification system called Aadhar. Launched in 2009, it is used as a proof of identification and for e-KYC. It can be used to receive government benefits like subsidies directly to your bank accounts.
Argentina also launched its digital identification system which integrates biometric authentication with facial recognition. The validation of facial recognition can be done through any device with a camera and is valid across both public and private sector services.
China has also vaulted into the digital economy by issuing national ID cards featuring encryption and chips. These contain personal information details like sex, ethnicity, date of birth, identification number, photograph, and residential address.
Estonia, one of the world’s most advanced countries in terms of digital signature systems, has an e-identity system as well. Apart from being a legally valid identity proof, the e-identity provides digital access to all secure e-services. It can be used as a legal travel ID by the citizens within the European Union and serves as a national health insurance card.
Not only this, it can be used for i-voting, filing taxes, banking, digital signatures, and maintaining medical records.
Dark side of the noble technology:
Undoubtedly, a digital ID can assist states in more efficient governance. With the data collected, people seek services from government agencies, even governments can better understand their functions, anticipate their people’s needs, and direct resources to where they are most needed.
Such information can be applied in planning for future generations, designing disaster and emergency response, and building new economic activities.
Even the moon has a dark side. Digital ID also increases government surveillance capabilities, providing the means to monitor and stifle dissenters, politically manipulate sectors of the population, and provide services discriminately.
The intersection of legal identity with technology has raised many concerns. Chief among them is privacy and data protection. There are fears of surveillance by states as they acquire more granular data on people. If not designed carefully, digital ID programmes can create databases that may easily abrogate a citizen’s rights to informational privacy and autonomy. As states continue to centralise data collection and analysis, the risk of the data being misused also increases.
The ‘single source of truth’ or single provider model requires extensive data collection and for the various databases to be interconnected, contrary to responsible data-sharing practices.
Many countries like China and North Korea extensively monitor and utilize their citizens’ digital data in order to fulfil their political motives.
There have been several instances where social media platforms like Facebook have shared the personal data of their users.
Our digital space is so vulnerable that if the system is not well guarded or its privacy provisioning is not thorough, it could bring down the infrastructure and economy of a nation. Therefore, a thoughtful and secure digital identification system should be built to mitigate these risks.
Need to safeguard your digital space:
Digital ID has the potential to be a socially enabling force or act as a means of information control. To ensure that it is socially beneficial, there is a need for safeguards to protect against the misuse of identification data. ID4D principles of Identification for Sustainable Development lay the foundation for the safety and security of digital ID.
Identification systems must have adequate and effective safeguards against unauthorized access, tampering, identity theft or misuse of data. Data must be protected at rest and in transit in their personal devices and even on storage servers. COVE uses ultra-secure cloud-based ZERO KNOWLEDGE STORAGE, which is end-to-end encrypted and secures all your personal and confidential data in just a few clicks.
Identification and authentication services should be designed to meet people’s real needs and concerns. The most valuable data should be regulated with data sharing and appropriate technical safeguards. Privacy by design should be the basic principle of data sharing. Cove protects each bit of your ultra-sensitive data using AES 256Bit end-to-end encryption and then stores them on ultra-secure networks and file systems protected by MFA and IFPS technology.
SSI is built around principles of control, access, transparency, persistence, portability, interoperability, consent, minimization, and user protection. Individuals store their digital IDs in virtual wallets and provide their identity information when required. Once produced, the identity is used for authentication but not stored with the service provider. This enhances the user’s autonomy. Cove enables you to revoke or re-authorize file access anytime, even after the file has been shared.
With the advancement in technology, it’s important to rise with technology without compromising anything. COVE Identity helps you in achieving your safe digital space without the risk of Digital Theft.