The Identity Week 2021 conference in London brings together sellers and buyers of digital identity and biometrics technologies, government officials and academics – and even a Biometric update journalist.
Day one presenters included representatives from Innovatrics and Tech5. Themes covered the role of digital identity in healthcare, the resumption of travel during and beyond the COVID pandemic, and digital identity in government, which we addressed separately.
Digital Health Identity – Why Sharing Medical Records Could Be A Good Thing
“Imagine if you only had two weeks to live – how much do you care about your privacy? You want to get help, ”said Hans Constadt, digital health consultant. “You want to open up your data, I’ve seen people tweet their stories, yell for help and in fact we found people sharing their data and we were able to find them the right clinical trials because we were able to help. them.”
Constadt believes in giving people control over how much medical data to share, with whom, and when. Digitally informed medical consent could ultimately enable the whole world to become a clinical trial.
Notes from a biometric election
Vladimir Kostiviar, senior technical consultant at Innovatrics, spoke about the company’s experiences in biometric elections in sub-Saharan Africa. Adding a minor detection facial scan to detect places where children were fraudulently presented as voters has proven to be very effective. The company trains its algorithms on datasets of photos of local populations around the elections – adults and minors.
Kostiviar also noted that facial recognition based on a biometric voters list was rarely used on election day, and that Innovatrics found that voter cards issued during an election period are often very reliable locally and become systems of voting. de facto identification.
The role of paper in a disparate identity landscape
Paper and plastic suppliers are present in force. Even the most ardent proponents of digital identity such as Tech5 have recognized that for many, it might not be possible to rely on some sort of smart device. Harriet Plumb, Director of Sales at Portals Paper, said “digital is part of the solution, not the whole solution”. Recognizing that this is what is expected of a paper supplier, she explained that there must be “closer proximity between competitors and manufacturers”.
Plumb said passport issuers are often far removed from marital status, and contracts for different credentials are awarded to different companies, who then hire multiple vendors. Contracts for digital versions are once again awarded to different companies, increasing the distance between identity providers and marital status. ICAO digital seal standards could help bring together disparate identity elements.
Estonia against the future: the role of government in identity ecosystems
“As long as we believe identity management is centered on these central databases from which identities can be reused and placed over traditional credentials – or new credentials – there is no a lot of future, ”said Machiel Van der Harst, CEO of Tech5.
“What we believe in is an ecosystem where identity management is decentralized and the individual will have full control over their own identity,” said Van der Harst. But his co-panelist was Margus Arm, deputy director general of the Estonian Information System Authority, who countered that there was a place for a centralized system, otherwise there are black boxes and “it is difficult to trust a black box ”.
Arm said that public-private partnerships in Estonia have helped the private sector, such as banks being able to use people’s state identity to log into accounts rather than needing to establish their own secure key system. The government-backed approach also provides tools for new market entrants to use in situations that would otherwise be prohibitive. Moreover, the fact that 75% of people use digital ID in Estonia for their daily activities means a ready market.
“You can do it all from home,” says Arm, adding that they don’t know how many services are available through the digital ID. “The only things you can’t do online is get married and get a divorce. It’s not about technology – I think it’s good to see your husband or wife at least once before getting married.
“We started in 2002.. . and the use of ID cards grew so slowly and it took about ten years to reach the point where 50 or 60 percent of the population was using digital ID, ”Arm said, warning the people. entities embarking on the journey to digital identity. It needs patience.
“It’s a long journey, but if you never start, you will never reach the destination.”
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