Digital identity (Digital ID, eID) has become one of the most significant technological trends on the planet in the 21st century. Indeed, for a growing number of stakeholders and citizens, this is already an everyday reality rather than a fear of a conspiracy of mass chipping of people. As a result, today we are witnessing a revolution in the way people interact with government agencies and other business entities, such as, for example, the World Digital identification association WDIA.
In this article, we’ll highlight five key digital identity trends that have begun to shape the digital ID world around us in 2020, and that will impact the future of the industry.
What is digital identity?
First, let’s understand the terminology. Digital Identity is a set of verified and secure digital attributes and credentials for the digital world, which are similar to the methods of verifying a person’s identity in the real “non-digital” world. Typically, digital identities are issued or governed by national identity standards, which can be used to uniquely identify a person on or off the network.
• It can include attributes such as a unique identification number, social security number, name, place and date of birth, citizenship, biometrics, and more, as defined by national law.
• With certain credentials (eID card in Spain or Portugal, mobile identifier in Finland or Estonia, unique identification number in India), it can also be used to authenticate its owner. These credentials may also include a digital identity certificate for electronic signature (user consent to take action), stamp and / or seal (date stamp).
For starters, don’t expect a slowdown in Digital ID development, especially given the growth we’ve seen over the past two years. In 2021–2022, amid COVID-19 challenges, we will see some of the most rapid evolutionary changes that stakeholders and their partners in secure digital identity have experienced so far. We would venture to suggest that these changes represent important signals for authorities who want digital identity and online services (especially mobile services) to drive modernization in the coming years. Therefore, as the main trends for the development of Digital ID in 2021–2022, we can highlight:
1. More user mobility and more Internet access points
Digital ID will become even more mobile. You don’t need to be an expert to admit: we have entered the era of mobile dominance. This trend continues unabated. And the implications for the digital device are enormous. At the beginning of 2020, more than 4 billion people have access to the Internet. By the end of this year, global Internet penetration has reached 60%. According to Statista, in 2020, 50% of the world’s internet traffic came from mobile devices. This is why Google is steadily moving towards a mobile-only world. The lesson for all parties involved in the digital divide is clear: prioritize mobile solutions.
2. Increased demand for reliability and safety
For government agencies, the key challenge is to create harmonious digital connections that connect new mobile communities and society at large. This communication is possible only through a general framework of trust, built on the guarantee of the protection and security of personal data.
In 2018–2020, we have already seen by citizens in the future that the measures taken to improve security and combat fraud are generally well received by citizens. Confidentiality requires strict accountability. Over the years, we have witnessed the appearance of the global consensus, the fundamental principle of which is the inadmissibility of mismanagement of personal information and that companies that do not protect data properly may be fined.
3. Accelerated transition to an interconnected Smart Cities ecosystem
The digital or smart city is becoming a model that brings together all the ways of communication between citizens, their communities and government.
This model, of course, includes e-government, or mobile government, which uses digital government to provide access to a wide range of services and support. In other words, the smart city will be our playground. Smart cities are inherently designed for a mobile environment. Thus, the digital identity will be a virtual umbilical cord that continuously connects each person with their social and social life. The message for government agencies is unambiguous: the national digital identity card offers unique opportunities.
4. State control of digital identification systems
Faced with an increasingly difficult economic environment, governments are looking for new opportunities for sustainable and harmonious growth. As the regulatory environment matures, close collaboration between the financial world, central and local governments and digital carriers will support effective solutions and best practices.
Of course, the real source of new business opportunities is not digital identity itself, but the multitude of applications it opens up. It is in this area that banks and other operators will see a return on their investment.
As noted, the proliferation of digital identifiers is in full swing. Thus, the focus will be on the adoption of the new structures and rules needed to govern the related services and transactions. The role of public authorities in 2021–2022 will be as follows:
• Creation and development of national impulses.
• Support and coordination of investments by local governments, thanks to which local transformations, close to public life, can work effectively and efficiently.
• Ensure that these multiple local initiatives create a coherent and interoperable range of solutions: wherever they are, mobile citizens can find similar ways of serving.
5. Creation of even more national programs, initiatives and adaptive developments of identification and eID
The evolution of digital identity — as vast as it is dynamic — will continue to evolve. The citizen is the main driving force behind these changes.
Millennials now make up the majority of employees and a growing proportion of the total population. They are changing the culture of our institutions. Ultimately, this technically forward generation turns out to be right. Older generations, finally joining and embracing these forms of technology, can break out of their isolation, stay in touch and maintain social and especially family ties.
Summing up, we would like to note that the next 24 months will be a turning point in the process of a massive transition to Digital ID. What used to be pilot projects for many governments will now become an integral part of our daily life, as evidenced by the trends in the development of digital identity described above.