I recently participated in a Treasury Identity Forum organized by the US Treasury Department in Washington, DC. The Forum focused “on the critical role of legal identity for financial inclusion, economic development, and anti-money laundering/counter financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) safeguards, and the development of new technology identification/authentication solutions to help achieve these goals.” It brought together stakeholders from governments, financial service companies, FinTech startups and technologists to better understand how emerging technologies and legal frameworks can help us develop the required digital identity systems.
I was a member of a panel on how government, business and research communities can collaborate in developing workable identity solutions. Let me summarize the points I made in my introductory remarks.
From time immemorial, our identity systems have been based on face-to-face interactions and on physical documents and processes. But, the transition to a digital economy requires radically different identity systems. As the economy and society move toward a world where interactions are primarily governed by digital data and transactions, our existing methods of managing identity and data security are proving inadequate. Large-scale fraud, identity theft and data breaches are becoming common, and a large fraction of the world’s population lacks the credentials needed to be part of the digital economy.