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Photo: Shutterstock.com / Tolga Sezgin

Who Gets To Own Your Digital Identity?

– Sbanken

The Chief Digital Officer of Norway’s first digital-only bank explores the scattered nature of the “digital you”, synthetic identities, and the merits and pitfalls of decentralized and self-asserted identity

There is no silver bullet to the challenges around digital identity systems, according to Christoffer O. Hernæs writing in TechCrunch. Hernæs should know. As Chief Digital Officer at Sbanken - Norway’s first digital-only bank - he has no doubt spent many long hours studying the dynamics between citizens, their identity, and their money in the digital age.

Hernæs speaks in this piece about the huge gap in verifiable identity for the unbanked, stating:

“Banking is one of the areas where the ability to verify one’s identity in a secure and compliant manner is a prerequisite to access basic services. Looking at the unbanked population of the world today, it is estimated that as many as 1.5 billion people lack access to everyday banking services due to their inability to prove their identity through a valid birth certificate, passport, proof of residency through utility bill or some other means to fulfill traditional KYC procedures.”

He goes on to explore human fallibility, decentralized, and self-asserted identity systems, Libra and Apple before giving his own view of what might be necessary in future to ensure people are protected:

“It is difficult to envision a future of digital identity without relying on some kind of identity custodian that maintains a verified connection between your physical and digital self, ensures that no data is used without consent, monitors malicious behavior and provides user support in case of a lost key.”

A consolidated and verified digital identity would be beneficial to both users and providers of digital services. However, allowing Facebook or The Libra Association to be the custodian of our consolidated digital identity is a sinister trail for the future of both privacy and democracy

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