Increasingly, we’re living double lives. One is our physical, everyday existence and the other is our digital life. Digital identity as defined by Techopedia is “an online or networked identity adopted or claimed in cyberspace by an individual, organization or electronic device”. In other words, those are characteristics or data attributes such as: username, password, date of birth, search activities, medical history, etc. that you use to prove yourself on the internet.
Digital identity is really a bridge to our human identity and it’s used in spectacular large numbers every single day. Beginning with simple usernames & passwords that we use to log into public websites, now we only need to gather initial information and use it across the internet for example using Facebook accounts or Google accounts to log on instead of creating a new account. According to BCG analysis, the amount of available data is expected to grow exponentially to roughly 7 zettabytes (1 ZB = 1 trillion gigabytes) and the global data transaction is also predicted to reach 7.91 zettabytes by 2015.
However, as the growing of data explosion, we also see many breaches of our data and so many compromises of our security. A recent study by Javelin Strategy & Research stated that around 12.7 million Americans were hit with identity fraud in 2014 with financial losses totaling $16 billion. Especially in healthcare, in less than 1 year, we have witnessed a record number of data breaches in the US. Roughly 96 million records were stolen in just 3 high‒profile cases alone ‒ Community Health Systems (4.5 million), Anthem (80 million), and Premera (11 million). Besides, the digital trends of moving to the cloud or connecting everything together by the internet (IoT) also bring many security risks.
These days, more and more users have had a better awareness of keeping their information secure and started to require providers to add better security layer. As a Gallup Survey research on steps that Americans would take to prevent identity theft, biometrics is the clear winner. And 79% of the respondents saying they are willing to use iris scanning for authentication. Biometrics which includes fingerprint, iris, face, palm, etc. would help to add a protection layer into the existing system. Control personal information by biometrics is the key to allow us to manage our own info and only provide what is needed, create some sort of anonymous identification, combine strong authentication (biometrics) with anonymity, increase privacy and provides user-centric control over PII (personally identifiable information).
Moreover, massive amounts of business data are likely to exist on mobile devices such as smart phones, tablets and thumb drives. People use them more than any other platforms to access data and services. In the near future, researchers expect identity credentials such as: driver’s license, medical card, passport, etc. will be all embedded into mobile devices and become digital. By the means of mobile devices and biometrics, digital identity will be secured, leads to a convenience, transparent, user-centric ecosystem for finance, healthcare, E/m-commerce, telecommunication, etc. to grow.