GBA Ethics Office Hot Topics- Digital Identity

This article highlights the important role digital identities can have in reducing the global digital divide and enhance access to essential services for the most vulnerable populations. The authors are also emphasizing the importance of adequate data governance as digitization of our society is advancing in order to safeguard our foundational legal rights.

Digital ID systems must also be designed with inclusion and trust in mind. Inclusion means not only ensuring that all can register, but also that everyone can use their digital IDs to receive assistance and empower themselves economically ā€“ including those with low literacy and limited access to technology. And it is crucial that people have confidence in the integrity of the system, including its ability to preserve privacy and individual rights. This requires effective transparency and accountability mechanisms.

For long term success and sustainability, it would be highly desirable for all stakeholder to collaborate in order to provide a universal, unique, portable and safe digital identity for all. Blockchain technology can be an important catalyst due to its multiple benefits. While building a blockchain powered global digital identity platform, we would have to take multiple complex aspects into consideration such as user control, user consent, directed identity, human integration just to name a few. In order to facilitate cross-border validity and reciprocityĀ  it would also be imperative to have harmonization of legal and regulatory guidelines, technical architecture design standardization and interoperability.

When developing the global policy frameworks and infrastructures, we also need to be mindful of security aspects, equivalency with legal status in various regions, as well as minimizing data disclosures and protecting individual privacy. We will also have to select the most appropriate model of online identity suitable for various industries and use cases, as self sovereign identity or user-centric models might not be appropriate for all situations desoite gaining a lot of traction lately.

Further work is needed to address the barriers and challenges identified in deploying blockchain powered digital identities, however the global good that can be achieved should serve as a motivator and encourage a global collaborative effort to reduce the digital divide.

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