Editorial

Do we really want to pay the cost of doing nothing when it comes to Identity?

Don Thibeau, the head of the Open Identity Exchange, issues a warning to sceptics: Do you really want to see Verify fail?

Posted 21 May 2018 by

Blockchain could emerge as a significant game-changer when it comes to citizen and business acceptance of Identity-backed transactions, with Identity as a major early potential use-case.

But vast economic and social opportunities for more security and privacy could be squandered if the market continues to be indifferent to systems like GOV.UK Verify – wasted opportunity that can be summed up as “the cost of doing nothing”.

That was the sharp warning from last Friday’s Think Digital Identity for Government 2018, where expert Don Thibeau laid out a possible shining future for the technology.

Thibeau is involved at a leadership level of two Open Identity projects, being Chairman of the Board of the Open Identity Exchange (OIX) as well as Executive Director of The OpenID Foundation.

That vantage point allows him to track the progress of Identity in multiple sectors, he told the audience:

“Identity is a rising issue in many sectors, from financial services to airlines and travel, as much as it is for public services and healthcare,” he noted.

Undoubtedly, many industries, as well as senior policy makers, need to find ways to provide better access to everything from age-related activities to the sharing economy, he added – then reminded delegates that there is a very uneven acceptance of Digital Identity across the world.

“The US has in effect abandoned its version of Verify, while Finland has seen very partial take-up of its national electronic identity system. But then you see the rise of highly popular banking-based systems in Norway, Denmark and India, while China is combing AI, Big Data and Identity into a state-of-the-art social credit system,” he noted.

Thibeau also drew the political map with an Identity filter, claiming the UK could end up in uniquely privileged international Identity position as a crossing point (“bifurcation”) between US free-market approaches to privacy and the EU’s openly-stated fight against what it sees as the “aggressive data capitalism” of Facebook and Google.

“Verify remains the best combination of a private-public sector partnership that can deliver great benefits to citizens and also drive UK economic growth,” he contended.

Main pic courtesy and copyright (c) Joseph Spear, Director, Marketing Mvine, Ltd – thanks