The World Economic Forum (WEF) is arguing that data intermediaries should play a key role in a global digital identity scheme. The organization believes that such intermediaries could help address some of the privacy concerns that people may have about having their personal and biometric information integrated into an international identity system.
The case comes courtesy of the WEF’s Task Force on Data Intermediaries, which has published a new 46-page report titled Advancing Digital Agency: The Power of Data Intermediaries. In it, the WEF first highlights the potential benefits of an international identity program, explaining that a centralized standard would make various interactions far more efficient. Digital IDs would serve as valid proof of identity in online and offline settings, and could be used to facilitate business transactions, or to administer government initiatives like healthcare, taxes, and elections.
The problem is that people may understandably be reluctant to share that much information with unfamiliar stakeholders on the other side of the world. Digital IDs are currently being implemented at a more local level, but the WEF’s proposed scheme would consolidate everything from social media to voting rights under a single comprehensive framework. That requires a considerable amount of trust from those whose data is caught up in the operation.
A data intermediary, meanwhile, is essentially a go-between tasked with managing the data relationship between an individual and any other parties. While intermediary relationships can take many different forms, the important point for the WEF is that individuals should trust their intermediary to act on their behalf, and to only share information if it is deemed to be in the individual’s best interests. The WEF believes that such intermediaries could help build a layer of trust into an identity system, and make people feel more comfortable engaging with one another on a global scale.
Ensuring that the intermediaries are trustworthy would be a challenge in its own right, though people have historically been willing to delegate complicated tasks like financial management to experts, and some may even prefer to have a more personal relationship with an identity broker. The WEF has made digital identity a core component of its Great Reset agenda to help the world recover from COVID-19.
Source: Western Standard