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The Importance of Digital Identity in 2021

digital identity

We live in a digital world where we trust companies to keep our data safe. This is why it is important that we are able to rely on encryption technology, and know that what we share online is secure. Digital identity theft doesn’t just impact individuals, but also businesses that have data stored digitally as well. The time is now for businesses to ensure they have the right processes and tools in place to protect their customers’ identities, and hopefully prevent a loss of revenue due to fraud.

We are always aware of the risks involved in our ever more connected digital world.  I try to keep up to date so that I can better advise the many businesses who rely on our virtual office services in Central London.  I have often discussed with friends in the global business community how to protect ourselves against digital fraud and whether the UK government should get more involved in setting up security barriers for tackling data vulnerabilities.

The Debate About Digital Identity

There was a very good article on the Bitdefender website the other ay which I will cite her, it sets out the current thinking at governmental and business level in the UK.

The UK government has said its plans to promote the legal status and use of digital identities across the country.

According to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), the proposal aims to make digital identities “as widely recognized as driver’s licenses” and “as trusted and secure as official documents such as passports.”

The DCMS says digital identities will let people prove their identity faster and easier when attempting to purchase a house or starting a job.

There is still debate about what type of technology will replace the paper trail. However, the press release states that it could include any form of web-based services or phone app. The department also said that the use of digital identities would help boost privacy by restricting the personal information seen by an organization.

“For example, someone buying age-restricted goods would be able to prove they are over 18 without needing to disclose their date of birth, name or address,” the government body explained.

Among other advantages, the switch to digital identity products can help scale down personal data abuse and impersonation attempts made by fraudsters.

“For instance, 220,000 cases of personal data abuse and impersonation were recorded in 2019,” the DCMS said. “Digital identities could help reduce these cases as they are much harder for fraudsters to access and replicate.”

The proposal will not make the use of digital identities mandatory but will allow people who lack a traditional form of ID to prove their identity.

digital identity

The UK Government and Digital Identity

“Digital identity will widen access to legally valid forms of identification for people who currently find it difficult to prove something about themselves,” according to the DCMS. “For example, if someone does not have access to an official document, such as a passport, they may be able to prove their identity digitally through another government service, or other means such as a vouch from a doctor or other trustworthy source.”

More information about the project can be found here. The consultation seeking ways to implement digital identities is open to any members of the public until Sept. 13.

As a technology evangelist, I am fundamentally committed to the notion of being able to provide a “digital identity to everyone on the planet.” The reason is simple: security and privacy issues are at an all-time high – especially as more data and interactions become digital. Protecting an individual’s identity is paramount for social good, innovation and consumer trust in new technologies.

Because this is a situation that affects all of us and is likely to get worse rather than better I would certainly encourage any of you to check out the govt page about making digital identity as secure as passports, I will add my voice to the debate and I hope you will too.

Though for today..

Did you know there are roughly 1.3 billion people in the world without a digital identity? That means they can’t prove who they are to anyone. This is for various reasons, including lack of documentation and government corruption. But it’s estimated that over 95 per cent of human beings (basically all of us) now have access to the internet. It’s also estimated that there are nearly 3 billion websites online today. That’s a lot! When we have so many websites hosting so much personal information, how can we protect our digital identity?