The New Identity- Recognized on the Digital Platform
Mr. Johan Fantenberg from ForgeRock gave an informative Zoom presentation about digital identity management last Wednesday (Jan 27). Digital identities are everywhere - think of your Webster accounts, Facebook account, internet banking account etc.
Johan explains that the key question with identities is trust. You would get a ride from a ride sharing company, and you will be able to check the car's license plate and the driver's ID. But in the near future, when you are rich and famous, can you check that the self-driving car sent to you is the real one, or is someone trying to kidnap you?
Even if the risk of being kidnapped by a rideshare is low in our everyday lives there are many other situations where trust is an essential element in our interactions. An obvious example is on-line payments. Today we make use of identifiers such as mobile phone numbers, email addresses or indeed bank account details to facilitate payments and value transfers. Not to mention the proliferation of QR codes and other contact less payments including NFC based tap schemes. Whilst such methods are intrinsically technically secure by means of the use of cryptography you still want to, in most cases, be assured that you are paying the right counterpart the right amount for the goods or services provided. This is where identity comes in. Either directly as in that you will get a positive acknowledgement that the counterpart indeed is who you think it is or indirectly as in that an intermediary collects a payment on behalf of the recipient where release of funds may be dependent on certain conditions such as that you have received the goods ordered etc. As you can see digital identity is a complex concept in most ecosystems. It is also important to point out that a digital identity ecosystem does not have to mean that participating parties always have their identities disclosed to each other. Just like in the real world there are use cases similar to paying in cash, anonymously, where a counterpart doesn't need to know who you are but only that you can pay. It is good practise to take a "trust but verify" approach, e.g., double check details before transferring value, keep your digital wallets locked and review your transfer limit, multi factor authentication and payee settings in mobile and internet banking applications.
There are also many other use cases where trust, identity and verifiable credentials are critical. The intersection of IoT and health and medical services is another pertinent example. Wearable health devices collects a vast array of data that may be used to provide life critical services, this could simply be a monitoring device that sends bio data to a health provider to detect heart rate, if you may have had a fall etc., but it could also form part of a closed loop system where said data may actuate a device such as an insulin pump where incorrect data could be fatal. We need to have means to trust the devices themselves, the data they emit, the instructions they are receiving as well as how that whole ecosystem, in this case medical devices, data, the patients, health providers, clinicians and first responders, can be secured, protected and managed.
The opportunities and challenges you will face as you embark on your careers will no doubt include elements of digital identity, trust and security as it is essential to almost every single aspect of our lives. Banking, communications, entertainment, dating, transportation, grocery shopping, healthcare and yet unthought of services all require a digital identity and trust strategy. I hope I managed to inspire you and get you thinking about the importance of digital identity and trust and that you will consider its utility in your various study subjects and in your future field of business. The field of digital identity is rapidly evolving and you will have every chance to influence the direction it takes by taking a critical look at how we do it today and then, perhaps, invent new approaches that will make it even easier to use your digital identity and to establish trust in a secure yet simple and convenient way.
At ForgeRock we are industry innovators in the digital identity providing solutions for any type of identity to allow people safely, simply and securely access the connected world. Our solutions are used for billions of identities, by thousands of enterprise customers serving some of the largest global and regional brands."