Digital Identity: The Pros, The Cons & Everything In-Between

South Asia’s biggest ICT and TMT event is only a month away: the India Mobile Congress 2018 will be held at Aerocity, New Delhi, on 25th-27th October 2018. The gala event will welcome some of the biggest names in the global technology and telecommunications fields, national and international leaders, experts, entrepreneurs, brands, businesses, media persons and enthusiasts. From conferences, speeches and debates to experience centers, exhibitions and contests, IMC 2018 promises to be an affair to remember.

One of the key focuses of the India Mobile Congress 2018 is the topic of digital technologies and future technologies: what they are, their potential, how they will change lives, how they can be best optimized and how governments, industries and end-users are going to come together in a digitally-integrated, seamless tomorrow. The focus on future technologies such as AI, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Smart Cities, Robotics and IoT has created a lot of buzz and thousands of visitors from the world over will be coming to the IMC 2018 to learn more about just what they can expect from these technologies and their applications. One of the more current technologies that will also feature heavily during the 2018 India Mobile Congress panel discussions is that of Digital Identities.

Digital identity India

What Is A Digital Identity?

Simply put, your digital identity is the digital, online version of your offline, real-time identity. The digital identity can belong to a person, an institution or a device. It’s essentially a collection of details or features that define the subject. A digital identity is used to represent the subject in cyberspace and can be used across a number of different mediums and platforms.

Not sure you really need a digital identity? The India Mobile Congress will showcase several exciting new digital communication technologies, the launch of a thousand new digital apps and the Indian government’s plans for Digital India. Your participation and subscription to all these next-gen digital products and services will necessitate the use of a digital identity.

What Does Your Digital Identity Include?

A digital identity is a composite of several features and details that together make up the subject. These include:

• Username
• Password
• Date of Birth
• Social Security Number
• Medical History
• Online Search Patterns
• Online Purchasing Patterns

When a digital identity is created, it has to be linked to what is known as a digital identifier. This can be an e-mail address or a website or a URL. The purpose of tying a digital identity to a digital anchor is to promote credibility and authenticity and guarantee security against identity thefts and misuse.

What Are The Benefits Of A Digital Identity

In today’s digital age, you simply cannot do without a digital identity. If you’re using a computer or any other digital device at any point in your day, you need a digital identity. Simply put, it’s who you are the moment you pick up a device or log onto the Internet. From your e-mails and professional Skype meetings to your social media and e-commerce activities, your digital identity is the version of you that exists in the digital world. You need it to be able to access just about anything on the digital realm and the devices and their networks need it to be able to correctly identify you so that they can engage with you in a manner that best meets your interests and preferences.

 

What Are The Risks Associated With Digital Identities?

The biggest risk associated with digital identities is that of identity theft and misuse. This stems from the fact that the creation of a digital identity usually involves using actual details about the person’s real identity: information that in the wrong hands can prove dangerous. Privacy risks and security threats are the primary causes of concern when it comes to creating a digital identity.

Many choose to create pseudonymous identities in a bid to disguise their real identities; while this might afford an added level of protection, experience proves that cross-site data analysis can be used to correctly isolate the real identity.

In the real, offline world, identity cards and papers are issued only after a stringent verification process and exhaustive efforts are made to ensure that the subject’s claims can be corroborated before any official identity markers are awarded to them. While a need for such a process for issuing digital identities has been recognized, it is practically unfeasible. Most people believe that using offline identity details to bolster a digital identity may actually do more harm than good since it exposes more of your real information.

How Can You Protect Your Digital Identity?

At present, we are still to develop a standardized mechanism for authenticating digital identities fully and for preventing digital identity theft and misuse. The verification processes currently differ from platform to platform and depend on the purpose of the account/identity you’re trying to create. For something as simple as an e-zine subscription, you might only need an e-mail address, whereas for something a little more elaborate, such as an e-shopping website, you will have to tie your account to a physical address.

Some platforms offer a greater level of security through mechanisms such as a two-factor authentication process. In these cases, you will usually have to include a second device, such as a mobile phone, in the process and you’ll receive a digital verification code that you can then use to confirm your identity on the primary device/platform. For higher security services, consider investing in secondary digital security devices that use smart card technology and mechanisms like special access keys, call scramblers and smart SIMS to protect your phone number.

On a personal level, caution and care are your greatest tools. Be careful where you supply your personal information and how much of it you’re willing to hand out. Ask yourself if it’s really needed and if not, are you willing to switch to a different platform? Whenever possible, stick to trusted platforms and service providers and exercise caution when asked to share any personal identifying information.

Digital Identity in IndiaAt the India Mobile Congress 2018, you can learn more about the latest digital identity trends, how to best use your online identity and what you can do to protect your digital identity. A discussion on the theme of ‘Digital Identity – A Revolution Or A Threat’ will be held on 25th October 2018 between 14:30 and 15:30 hours at Hall B of the India Mobile Congress. Speakers will include Mr. Amitabh Kant, CEO of NITI Aayog, Mr. Vinayak Godse, Senior Director of Data Security Council of India, Mr. Arun Kumar Parameswaran, MD of India Business, VMware and Mr. Arvind Gupta, CEO of MyGov.in along with Mr. B. N. Srikrishna, Judge (Retd.) of Supreme Court of India, Dr. Ajay Bhushan Pandey, CEO of UIDAI and Mr. Rob Sherman, Deputy Chief Privacy Officer, Facebook.

At the India Mobile Congress 2018, you can learn more about the latest digital identity trends, how to best use your online identity and what you can do to protect your digital identity. For more information on what to expect at the India Mobile Congress 2018 log onto www.indiamobilecongress.com and register today. Follow the 2018 IMC social media for the latest updates, hottest tech and telecom trends and contests, launches, reveals and tons of exciting announcement.