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  • Writer's pictureMilica Gallardo Petkovich

Building a Unified Digital Identity

A unified digital identity will allow us to be able to know what personal information is available, being used and by who. Numerous governments have launched digital IDs to facilitate the use of their virtual services, but the full benefits of utilising a unified digital identity are yet to be reached. The implementation of a blockchain-backed unified digital identity would create a secure, verifiable and immutable record for your data to rely on. The incorporation of blockchain and a unified digital identification would strengthen cyber security measures, increase confidence in online trade and protect individuals from data breaches. This will play an essential role in the development of the incoming Metaverse.

 

4.7 billion records were breached in 2021 (ForgeRock, 2022). How will having a unified digital identity protect your data?


Your digital identity is a representation of who you are. Your social media accounts, online bank accounts, biometric data, online activity and other elements of your internet use are all elements of your digital identity. As people’s internet usage expands, more of our information is shared and we tend to lose sight of where that information is. Often, we are not reminded about our digital identity until there is a data breach and our private and sensitive personal data is released.


As digitalisation continues to expand in all aspects of our everyday lives, the more important unifying your digital identity becomes. This will allow you to have control over who has access to your information, how it used, and have a secure and accurate representation of yourself online. We expect blockchain-backed comprehensive identity management to represent us in the upcoming metaverse and in upcoming uses ranging from social representation to government use.


Are you aware of the value of your digital identity and how it will grow to be in the future?


What is a Unified Digital Identity?

How a person, organisation or device is represented online is their digital identity. Your digital identity can be represented in different forms and platforms, ranging from your email to social media handles to your electric bill provider. Each of these services or accounts have your name and information attached to them. Each image you upload, and your search history are often forgotten elements of your digital identity.


A unified digital identity (UDI) will bring all your information, accounts, services into one cohesive identity. Having a unified digital identity will be important for long term data protection. It will facilitate the management of usernames, password, personal information, sensitive data and asset ownership. It is also expected to increase the security of your web usage, travel and global trade.


Current Developments

Nations across the globe are creating standardised digital identities where physical identification documents are the baseline information in your government digital identity. In October 2019, the Australian Government launched myGovID. It is a mobile application where Australian citizens and businesses can create a digital identity, which can be used to access over 80 government services (Minister’s Media Centre, 2021). Depending on what service your need, you will need to add information to reach a Basic, Standard or Strong myGovID (Mygovid.gov.au, 2022). 6 million people are using myGovID as of December 2021 and the number is expected to keep growing (Ministers' Media Centre, 2021).


Another example is Singapore’s Singapp platform. Singapp was first released in 2003 and was developed as a mobile application in October 2018. The application allows users to access 1400 digital services across 340 government agencies and private organisations (Post, 2021). By 2020, Singapp had 4 million users and it became exceptionally helpful during the pandemic. It allowed users to connect with the services that they needed (Post, 2021). Both myGovID and Singapp, are glimpses into the possibility that citizens will one day be able to access their travel documents straight from their mobile devices.


Even if your country’s government has not developed a digital identity system, you may have already experienced the use of a UDI. You are now able to log on to various websites and platforms using your existing Facebook or Google account. This has allowed for an improved user experience, through a facilitated and efficient service process. These are the early steps in the facilitating identity management and showcases the potential of it expanding globally.


Future Use and Growth

At Meikai, we believe that a UDI can be benefited from the use of blockchain technology. Data recorded on blockchain is secure, verifiable and immutable. These qualities are key values toidentifying a vessel to house our personal information. The confidence users have in blockchain comes from its decentralised nature.It is based on a peer-to-peer network so that information minted into the chain can be validatedby various members and not housed on one vulnerable database. Users will be able to rely on encryption to keep their information private and to control who is able to access said information.We expect to see a blockchain-backed identity profile to work into the Metaverse, aid global cybersecurity, and further support government functions.


Metaverse

Blockchain’s features would incorporate seamlessly into the developing metaverse. Each person would have their digital twin on the metaverse created by a unified digital identity. This way, interactions on the metaverse can be deemed as trustworthy as each person you interact with is undeniably a person with a verifiable background. Your avatar in the metaverse should accurately represent you, so your connections through the metaverse are equally as impactful as those in the real world.With each person having their own identification number, all transactions done through blockchain will be permanently recorded and tied to that identity. This would mean that any assets acquired would be undeniably yours. Additionally, this would make fraudulent schemes less common and easier to identify.


Cybersecurity

The use of blockchain in the metaverse for a UDI will aid in strengthening thecybersecurityin Web 3.0. In 2021, Australia reported 900 data breaches of which 803 targeted personal contact information (ForgeRock, 2022). Information such as names, phone numbers, emails, addresses, and date of birth are valuable as they can act as keys into other valuable information such as bank accounts. By using blockchain, personal information will be user controlled instead of relying on other companies or organizations to keep your information safe. This would allow an individual to control what data others have access to. The security measures blockchain has due to its decentralised nature will make it more difficult and expensive for hackers.


Government

For a comprehensive overview of how governments are diving into the metaverse and future use cases, read our latest article here. https://www.meikaigroup.com/post/government-in-the-metaverse


Government use of a centralized digital identification system has already proven successful, but how will it continue to develop?


Meikai expects the government will benefit from the use of UDI’s through a public and private blockchain and metaverse. The use of a public blockchain will allow government services to be more accessible to all its citizens and allow for the creation of government verified global travel documents. On the other hand, the use of a private blockchain would allow for the communication of highly classified information within the government. Government employee qualifications would be easily tracked and identified when those strengths are needed. Identity governance within government would help secure sensitive information and services.



A unified digital identity will strengthen global cyber security measures to support global trade, government services, and user privacy. Blockchain will make this a reality as an essential part of the development of the metaverse.


Learn more about how blockchain works and innovative future use cases in our continuing blog series and the panel our Director Adam Rawlings will be speaking on, in this week's Blockchain Week.



 

Meikai Group

Meikai is a Professional Services Consultancy dedicated to facilitating and solving capability problems and challenges for our clients. Meikai specialises in the provision of engineering, project management and program delivery services to support the implementation of emerging and disruptive technology within the ICT, simulation, and training domains.

Meikai holds a R&D/Futures branch, that looks to explore emerging technology. This ensures we foster cutting edge thinking, skills and competence in our workforce, to continue to providing value and quality to our clients. Meikai knows that research into Blockchain, Web 3.0 and NFTs is essential to building an innovative future.


Authors

Adam Rawlings – Director of Meikai

Adam is a Systems Engineer who is dedicated to supporting forward thinking government officials deliver complex technology change. He has spent the last decade supporting Defence to implement transformational change in the way it uses simulation as a disruptive technology. His qualifications and experience in engineering, education, capability development, leadership and stakeholder management provide him the tools in his belt to progress seemingly impossible programs.

Milica Gallardo Petkovich – Resident Data Scientist

Milica is Meikai’s resident data scientist who is dedicated to researching emerging technologies to provide market insight. She is currently pursuing her Master's in Data Science from the University of Canberra. Having received her Bachelor’s in Financial and Global Economics from Rutgers University, Milica’s international education brings in a global perspective to Meikai.


 

References

Accenture. “Digital Identity.” Accenture.com, 2020, www.accenture.com/au-en/services/blockchain/digital-identity. Accessed 5 Dec. 2022.


ConsenSys. “Blockchain for Digital Identity: Real World Use Cases.” ConsenSys, consensys.net/blockchain-use-cases/digital-identity/.


Digital Transformation Agency (2022). Digital Identity Australian Government. [online] Digitalidentity.gov.au. Available at: https://www.digitalidentity.gov.au/create-or-manage-your-digital-identity [Accessed 5 Dec. 2022].


ForgeRock. 2022 FORGEROCK CONSUMER IDENTITY BREACH REPORT. June 2022.


Ministers' Media Centre (2021). 6 million Australians using Digital Identity to access online services. [online] Ministers’ Media Centre. Available at: https://ministers.dese.gov.au/robert/6-million-australians-using-digital-identity-access-online-services [Accessed 5 Dec. 2022].


Mygovid.gov.au. (2022). How to set up | myGovID. [online] Available at: https://www.mygovid.gov.au/set-up [Accessed 5 Dec. 2022].


Post, Vulcan. (2021). “The Evolution of Singpass: How Singapore’s National Digital Identity Came About.” KrASIA, 27 Apr. 2021, kr-asia.com/the-evolution-of-singpass-how-singapores-national-digital-identity-came-about.


Smart Nation Singapore. “National Digital Identity.” Www.smartnation.gov.sg, www.smartnation.gov.sg/initiatives/strategic-national-projects/national-digital-identity.


Weston, Georgia. “The Impact of Blockchain on Digital Identity.” 101 Blockchains, 22 July 2022, 101blockchains.com/blockchain-impact-on-digital-identity/.

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