Technological progress keeps transforming our lives. From small to big changes, our lives are completely different compared to just a few years ago. Every day more and more people gain access to the internet. Digital 2022 April Global Statshot report shows that 63 percent of the world’s total population is now online, using the internet in almost every element of their lives, from communication, working, schooling, and even banking.
Everything we do while online leaves a digital trail behind. From our names and usernames to our communication details or location, we leave many pieces of information that can reveal much about who we are. As the digital environment keeps expanding quickly, the amount of data we leave behind will only become more significant, with our digital identity becoming as important as a physical one.
What is digital identity?
Identity presents one of the most prominent elements of the economy: physical or digital. From online shopping to an appointment in the bank, you must provide your identity to access those services. While in the physical world, this means having proof of identities with you, such as a driver’s license, ID, or passport, things are quite different in the digital world. Depending on which service you’re planning to access, you will need to verify your identity differently, from using your email or username and password to provide a selfie or picture of an identification document.
But what exactly is digital identity? Digital identity is a collection of data such as email address, username, device fingerprint, address, social media presence, or account number, used to identify an Internet user. This makes it easier for the users to interact and use websites and services on the internet while allowing companies to identify their customers and ensure they provide the best service possible.
Are digital profiles and identities secure and trustworthy?
As we continue to spend more time in the digital world, having verifiable and consistent digital identities will only become more important. The question that remains is: Are those digital profiles and identities trustworthy, and what can we expect from them in the future? Unfortunately, fraud and cybercrime are part of our reality, and they are getting more sophisticated and evolving with each new wave of technological developments.
Most companies are unaware of the danger their business and customers are in, which is why it is essential to implement solutions such as seon’s tool for synthetic ID fraud prevention. Digital identity solutions can be the future of technology, but not if we can’t ensure their safety. This is why future digital identity solutions need to be fast and convenient for users while ensuring their data privacy. Additionally, whilst digital identity provisions need to be maintained there needs to be the application of digital privacy concepts to complement this and ensure digital profiles are protected. As a result, companies need to implement ways of protecting themselves from data breaches, impersonation fraud, and increased risk of synthetic identity. That is the only way we can ensure that we create a safe digital ecosystem that can continue to expand.
What is in the cards for digital profiles and identities?
Everyone is looking forward to the broader implementation of digital identities, from users to businesses and governments. Users want to use digital profiles and identities because they are convenient, fast, and can ensure their privacy. It makes it easier for companies to access their customers and learn more about them. Even governments can benefit from it, as it can speed up lengthy bureaucratic procedures and increase the connectivity between different departments. It is just a matter of time before digital identities become indispensable for everyone.
Digital identity in governments.
Accessing government services is unavoidable. You need to use them for most things in your life, from reporting your taxes, registering your business, applying for some allowance, or even registering your wedding or birth of your child. We all know how lengthy and bureaucratic these procedures can get. Digitization of society and implementation of digital identity can make all the difference.
The need for digitalization has not only been recognized but has already been implemented by several countries, with Estonia taking the lead. Not only have they been using it for the past 20 years, but it is so widespread that 99% of 1.3 million inhabitants of Estonia have their digital ID. Estonians are assigned this unique digital document at birth and can use it for anything from managing health appointments to voting, banking, or even starting a business. While Estonia is a pioneer, several other governments have also implemented a national digital ID program, such as India with the Aadhaar project or the Netherlands with DigiD.
Digital identity in a business environment
Data is at the centre of every business, and implementing digital profiles and identities helps not only to manage it but also to optimize it to the maximum. They allow businesses to identify who is using their services and their intentions, regardless of whether it is their employees or users. With their employees, they can control which level of access they have to different elements of the business, which can be updated as the situation changes, such as employees leaving the company or changing their roles. While in the past, it took a while to process the changes manually, with the digital identity, it can be done instantly, reducing the danger of former employees exploiting their access and causing a data breach or even something worse.
With customers, implementing digital identity allows businesses to gather more information about their users, simplify the registration process and offer more personalized service. Making the process faster and more convenient for users increases the chances that customers will choose that specific company among their competitors.
Digital identity in everyday life
While digital identity is the future in business and government, it can also make a big difference in everyday life. For example, Apple already allows users to use their Apple account to sign into different sites, but now they have gone one step further. The Apple Wallet will now be able to carry users’ ID cards, from driver’s licenses to personal identity documentation.
The other tech giants have also started expanding their reach and creating a norm of using a unique digital profile or identity for various services, such as using your Google account for connecting your calendar and contacts or even signing up on different websites and services online.
More and more organizations, from governments to businesses, are finding a way to adopt digital identities into their standard operations. It simplifies our lives and reduces the time we need to spend on registration for websites and services or filling in tedious bureaucratic processes. If done correctly, it can also reduce the risk of fraud. The truth is that the future of digital ID is not coming soon; it is already here.