Showing posts with label identity. Show all posts
Showing posts with label identity. Show all posts

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The K(NO)W Identity Conference by Bo Wang, Impact Investing Intern and student at American University

From the past to the present, people always ask "Who are we?" Today, in a technological era, we have to ask ourselves: "What is my identity?" How does identification relate to our lives?

To help address these issues, on May 15th, One World Identity held The K(NO)W Identity Conference, a platform for participants to connect with identity industry leaders. There were 200 speakers, and more than 300 companies in attendance at this conference. This is a moment for people in the identity industry to learn from other experts. In addition, each session delivered ideas about how the identity industry relate to business, finance, security, government regulation, and so on. However, speakers pursued a neutral position and to sought to simply communicate ideas related to identity across different industries.

From eighteen (18) first day sessions, I attended three related to government, privacy, technology/implementation.

The first session I attended focused on using and managing big data. With all of the technical innovations in effect nowadays, how can we use (big) data that has been commercialized? The speakers focused on three issues: 1.) why do we collect the data? 2.) After we collect the data, how can we get to what is the essential knowledge, and 3.) what is the benefit of collecting the data.

The second session I attended was called The Business of Identity. We used to think of identity as a factor in access to resources; however, this session asked, why is identity starting to be a business in and of itself. Session members discussed digital identity and value it creates. In addition, they discussed control of personal data, and reducing the cost of sharing or securing sensitive information. Finally, they discussed simplifying and strengthening authentication.

The third session mainly talked about the international regulation of identification in the financial services field, and focused on key differences and global trends. One of many topic they discussed concerned global weather identification as a factor in global integration or disintegration. The final discussion concerned recent actions by the Monetary Authority of Singapore related to blockchain, cybersecurity, and government regulation.

Of course, this is a good way to discuss the future of identify, to grow your person network, and to meet and connect with identity industry business leaders.


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Identity and Blockchain by Henry Zhang, Impact Investing Intern, University of Toronto

With the breakout in the price of bitcoin (from $1177 on March 16 to $1832 on May 16) and the rise of blockchain technology, people now have a “blockchain” view on the future of society. Just about every industry has to deal with internet data and the inherit the risks - data integrity, data transparency, and/or third party inefficiency. This means they can all use blockchain technology and the distributed ledger technology to mitigate or eliminate some or all of the these risks.

One industry which has recently gotten a lot of attention is the identity management industry. Fortunately, since I am in Washington DC for the summer, I had an opportunity to attend the 2017 K(NO)W Identity “intellectual fest” and hear what experts in the identity management field have to say about the issue.

Admittedly, this was a hard conversation to follow. Half of the time they were throwing out jargon I did not understand and the other half of the time they did not provide clear, concise answers to questions. They were all over the place. Out of this messiness, I was able to extract one piece of information that all of the experts agree on: blockchain is not the right solution for current problems of the identity management industry. Blockchain, after all, was designed to solve the problem of double spending, not to solve identity management issues.

But the broader concept of the distributed ledger does suggest many new and better ways of doing things related to identity. One good example (mentioned by one of the experts) is pure peer to peer interaction without the facilitation of a third party (such as Facebook or Twitter). This can be accomplished using a straight forward identification and authentication process via an automated system, similar to that of smart contracts.

My personal thoughts

While I am still learning about the identity management field, based on my current understanding of blockchain, I think blockchain can be applied to the identity management industry.

Blockchain provides a solution to the privacy issue (encryption, hash function), and removes a central authority from personal identification data. The technology can also improve the efficiency and accuracy of a given registration process.

Of course, the exact process for reaching any of these goals is still up for debate. This is the real question, and that’s probably why the "experts" weren’t so excited about it. 

Monday, May 15, 2017

Edward Snowden on Identity

In what must be considered a successful and interesting approach, the KNOW Identity Conference focused on identity related issues and identity related investment opportunities.

The first speaker was Edward Snowden, appearing via Skype from an undisclosed location. Mr. Snowden made a number of interesting comments.

He noted the government’s primary role in the provision of authenticated documents relating to identity. Indeed, supplying “identity” is one of the core functions of a modern government. Mr. Snowden suggested that governments focus on enabling people to interact with one another, secure in the knowledge of true identity. This needs to be facilitated both locally and globally, that is, you need to communicate securely (secure with respect to knowing the identity of the other person) over both great distances and/or over a shop counter.

As a way of facilitating this thinking, Mr. Snowden noted that one of the core ways to enhance identity is to have governments ask the question when focusing on identity data, “what do we really need?” Mr., Snowden suggests that citizens demand governments acknowledge that identity data will definitely be misused. The question then becomes what governments do under that eventuality. In other words, citizens need to ask governments what they (governments) will do when (not if) that data misuse happens?

As part of this focus, a recognition that people rarely need precise data to validate identity is helpful. In other words, to cash a check, you don’t need to know my blood pressure, height (to the centimeter), or exact weight (to the ounce). You may need approximations of this data, but you do not need exact numbers. The implication is that we should only use role or transaction specific and appropriate data. This data requirement changes with the nature (age, size, geographic location of the parties, time) of the transaction the identity data is (or will be) used for.

Mr. Snowden ended with more comments of the nature of the identity challenges faced in the modern age. He pointed out that dumb terrorists tend to be weeded out/captured quickly.

All in all, an engaging and thought provoking discussion.