The future of digital identity
Published on February 14, 2020
Chief Executive of Global Futures and Foresight, Futurist, Strategist and Keynote Speaker
Whether or not we like it, the nature of the internet means that pretty much all of us have a digital identity of sorts, albeit one we don’t have direct control over. At present this leads to partial or overly simplified profiles since customers are starting to generate or present different identities across different contexts. Knowing when and how to engage becomes problematic. ‘They no longer just need to work out who the consumer is, but which of that consumer’s identities they are dealing with.’ Current segmentation models will need to become ever more complex and granular without appearing to be overly invasive.
The Future of Digital Identity
It is also plausible that we will see digital identity initiatives crystalize into something more solid. The World Economic Forum suggests that by 2030, we’ll see credit scoring expanding into ‘life scoring’. Identity and reputation will be digitised and analysed in minute detail, shaping a future where a personal ‘trust score’ will be the norm, with all the benefits and drawbacks that might bring. It has also been suggested by WEF that a ‘…person’s data should reside in an account where it would be controlled, managed, exchanged and accounted for ,’ by around 2028. If data does indeed become a bankable commodity then banks and other financial services players have an opportunity to become the safe-keepers of the underlying digital identity. Digital identity systems will likely proliferate as a medium for managing personal data flows (i.e a consolidated point of control as consumers gain increased control over how their data is used).
Not only would consumer data use shift towards a consent-based system, but whole new models would be needed to account for micropayments. The nature of payments themselves could undergo transformation with trusted online identities easier to verify. The technological infrastructure to support such a future is already taking shape. Witness, for example, Estonia allowing its citizens to vote online during a 6-day window before election day, casting 247,232 i-votes, or internet votes, using their national ID cards and PINs. Meanwhile, the Known Traveler Digital Identity – KTDI – a public-private collaboration seeks to enable seamless and secure cross-border travel, using biometrics, cryptography and trust could one day evolve to replace the passport.
Biometrics are likely to play a role in any future digital identity program. Biometric technology is being examined by 77 percent of global airports and 71 percent of airlines as a digital identity option, while AccorHotels has a service that uses your biometrics to determine possible vacation destinations. The impact of digital identity could ripple out much further than travel however, Juniper Research suggests that mobile biometrics could authenticate $2 trillion of sales by 2023, up from $124bn in 2018. Biological data banks will fast become the norm; with governments and businesses likely interested in owning or accessing such data, it is time we wrestled back control of our data.