Digital identity: being or nothingness? – Rodolphe Krawczyk

The European Commission took a major decision last April: the digital identity wallet will open up horizons of unsuspected happiness and ease. I’m not asking to see…

The ax has just fallen: thanks to the European digital identity wallet, we will be able to digitally store all our personal data and documents via an application that can be used in all countries of the European Union (EU). Digital identity: a major step forward in the transformation of the EU, whose ambition is to be sovereign in an open and interconnected world in order to take ownership of a human-centred, sustainable and more prosperous digital future ( sic): just that!

I quote the non-exhaustive possibilities of using this new digital marvel, as I found them on the Internet:

  • Contact public services, for example to obtain a birth certificate or a medical certificate, or report a change of address.
  • Open a bank account.
  • Complete a tax return.
  • Enroll in a university, in your home country or another EU state.
  • Keep a medical prescription that can be used anywhere in Europe.
  • Prove his age.
  • Rent a car using a digital driver’s license.
  • Check in at the start of a hotel stay.
  • Store medical prescriptions, bank cards and university diplomas.
  • Etc.

Risks in spades

For my part, I already know that car rental via this application will be forbidden to me, my driving license dating from 1975: I am deeply sorry… That said, I will not dispute the obvious advantages of such a application, but it would also be wise not to underestimate the risks: because by wanting to do too much, in the enthusiasm of what is presented to us as a (new?) solution to all our administrative worries, we can miss certain points that one day we will regret having forgotten. But it will be too late.

I will mention three, and not the least:

  • The complexity of such a project from an IT point of view: when we see the bugs (not necessarily frequent, but not extremely rare either) that we are already confronted with for each of the elementary activities mentioned above when they are computerized, it is hard to believe that their concatenation on a single application will be “fingers in the nose”; but let’s admit that these are “youthful” problems that will be solved over time and thanks to the stoicism and patience of the first users.
  • More serious: vulnerability to cyberattacks. The latter will continue to multiply exponentially with the dazzling progress of digitization: because it must be understood once and for all that the more data is digitized, the more it is hackable. It will be interesting to see what the digital identity “geeks” will look like when their personal data has been stolen and offered to be returned against payment to prevent it from being widely disseminated. I have already mentioned this problem in a post on this blog. “Cyber ​​Attacks: You Won’t Say You Didn’t Know”. The future will tell if the e-signature is supposed to protect the data 100%…
  • And as I am attached to the detail, I noted, among the options of the application, the one entitled “to prove its age”. Anodyne? I would like. Digital identity buffs will call me paranoid, but I believe that this option is indicative of the desire for a regulated cutting of all personal data that will reduce our identity to a game of 0 and of 1 entered on a chip and manipulated by any entity “authorized to know” (and by other malicious, or less “benevolent” entities). I had already sounded the alarm in another post on this blog published in May 2019 “ Artificial Intelligence and Digitization: when will our identity be lost? “. With the disappearance of the human in our processes, common thread of most of my posts, we are going to witness that of our identity of “existing being”. We will no longer be anything but digital entities, in other words no longer identities, but empty entities, or more exactly entities emptied of everything that makes up human wealth.

70 years ago, the great Eluard wrote these unforgettable words: “Liberty, I write your name”. Today it would be: “Identity, I’m digitizing your name”. It’s much less beautiful, isn’t it? At a time when some are advocating industrial decline, it might be appropriate to think about digital decline.

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Digital identity: being or nothingness? – Rodolphe Krawczyk

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