Your name is your first identity. As you grow older, your employment details, marital status, and even social networking preferences become a part of your identity. Now, with the help of biometrics, you can also be identified with your thumbprint or retina scan. While you would like to believe that you are unique and that there is no one quite like you, the fact of the matter is that if you have ever used the internet, even to open an email account, you have created a digital twin. This digital twin is your digital identity (digital ID).
Thus, your digital ID will comprise any or all your personal data that exists online and can be used to identify the real you. This information can be grouped into two broad categories: your digital attributes and your digital activities. For example, your digital attributes could include your date of birth, medical history, bank details, etc., while your digital activities could be anything from your online purchase history and search queries to your likes, comments, and shares on social sites. These pieces of information, either separately or combined, can be used to identify you.
Inarguably, your digital ID is a treasure trove of information that can unlock seamless access to banking, healthcare, education, government benefits, and several other critical services. However, along with myriad benefits, digital ID also engenders risks and the potential for misuse. Thus, if the true socio-economic potential of digital ID is to be harnessed, it is important to create a trusted ecosystem built in accordance with a robust and holistic digital identity framework.
Several countries across the world, such as Australia, Estonia, Finland, and Canada, have either implemented or are in the process of creating a centralized digital identity system. In Australia, the Digital Transformation Office is creating a trusted digital identity framework to lay the groundwork for a centralized digital identity solution. The aim of the framework is to create an ecosystem of trust where the government and businesses can easily authenticate the identity of individuals they engage with and allow individuals to have greater control over the privacy and use of their data while also verifying the credentials of the institutions and businesses they transact with. In order to achieve this, the Australian government, in collaboration with the private sector, is developing a Trusted Digital Identity Framework (TDIF) to support the Government’s Digital Transformation Agenda.
The TDIF aims to ensure that all individuals have seamless access to critical services and that the highest standards are being followed to maintain data privacy and security. Such a framework is an essential building block for creating a centralized national-level digital ecosystem while safeguarding individuals’ digital identities. The true value of digital ID can only be harnessed if these standards and principles are implemented well.
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