The Digital Person Symposium - Digital Identity in Technology

The Digital Person Symposium - Digital Identity in Technology

Watch the Digital Identity in Technology session on the 4th Symposium of the Digital Person.

This presentation is chaired by Professor Jon Crowcroft (slides) with these speakers:

"The UK has been remarkably resistant to the imposition of a single national identity system, analog or digital. Now, various moves in the government reacting to the Covid-19 pandemic are afoot to create a digital identity system, rooted in one of the trustworthy organisations, the NHS.

Such an ID system, it is claimed, could simplify efforts to control the pandemic, such as Contact tracing, and Immunity Passporting. Yet, contact tracing can be done without ID (e.g. anonymously via decentralised systems), and as yet, immunity is not a medically verifiable property people can obtain (and may not ever be obtained), nor does immunity necessarily strongly correlate with lack of infectiousness, so risk to others (which is often the critical social concern) is not a guarantee at all.

In the long run, disaggregated and federated identity systems might simplify some social activities, and the designs of such systems might help with appropriate design choices for these public health services. These  would also uncover assumptions about the trustworthiness or otherwise of various actors in such systems."

Imogen Parker, Head of Policy, Ada Lovelace Institute:

"COVID has completely reshaped the window of political possibility. Technologies that would have been thinkable at the start of 2020 are being pursued in earnest by governments and private companies – from apps that track contacts or monitor adherence to social distancing, to ideas for immunity certificates or health status apps to help ‘stream society’ based or risk. Alongside this, high profile tech failures – from the first version of the contact tracing app to A-Level grading fiasco - have made crystal clear the importance of building technology with public legitimacy. But what are the key conditions for trusted tech, and what issues must be considered in tools working on digital identity? Across the last six months we have conducted in depth public deliberations on COVID tech, biometrics and contact tracing which offer some clear steers on ensuring any identity system is trustworthy and trusted."

Andrew Bennett, Policy Analyst, Tony Blair Institute for Global Change:

"The UK has long struggled with its identity problem. For over 20 years, successive governments have tried to make progress, yet during the pandemic a lack of inclusive, authoritative identity left some unable to get a Covid-19 test, complicated attempts to de-duplicate testing data, and reduced leaders’ optionality to test and iterate new services. This talk reviews the UK’s strategic and organisational position, before identifying 5 priorities for progress: investing in internet-era infrastructure, appointing dedicated political leadership, enabling an ecosystem of authentication methods, protecting rights in legislation, and designing a future-facing market strategy."

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