Will identity-as-a-service be the next banking business model? Will self-sovereign identity solve the paradigm of security versus ease of use? These and other questions will be explored on the Innotribe stage at Sibos. Alex King probes the outer reaches of verification technology for an ethical solution to who owns our digital selves How many times have you read an article that opens with the tired old maxim that ‘our identities are increasingly formed online’? It’s reached the point of linguistic exhaustion as our digital identities have
flourished across the boundless space of the internet. Sometimes we’re offered a poignant reminder of the almost absurd nature of the networked lives we now lead. Summing up our fully-fledged digital selves, philosopher Srećko Horvat wrote: “If you want to have a job, you have to be connected. If you want to maintain friendships, you have to be connected. If you want to go on a date, you have to be connected.” The username-password model was built into the fabric of our digital experience with the launch of the first email accounts, but the compulsion to sign up, log in and upload our identity has reached fever pitch in the last decade, as websites and apps demand we create additional siloed representations of ourselves in exchange for access. Most use personally identifiable information (PII) to share and monetise consumer data through their back end. PII cuts to the core of who we are, which is precisely why it’s so valuable for marketing purposes. But by onboarding with scores of sites, services and tools, the average person
now juggles dozens of disparate identities and maintains a dizzying array of verifiers to fire over the internet, simply to prove who we are. This, then, is the present-day ‘identiverse’ across which we map our lives. It’s a system and structure powered by the commercial value of data and guarded by initiatives such as the General Date Protection Regulation (GDPR) which, for the first time in history, established privacy as a human right. But data privacy is only one of the pressing contemporary debates. Identity is also about inclusion and exclusion – about ethics, human rights and bias-conscious technology. Importantly, it’s about who owns and trades our data – and who we can trust to store that sensitive personal information securely. That’s where financial institutions enter the picture. If data is the ‘new oil’, then who better to trust with our share of this valuable commodity than banks, which are already the custodians of our physical wealth? As trusted brokers in identity, banks may be the best initial experimenters in the developing identity-as-a-service (IaaS) space.
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TheFintechMagazine | Issue 13
Fintech Finance presents: The Fintech Magazine Issue 13