Two weeks ago the K(no)w Identity announced that Edward Snowden is going to be the keynote speaker.
It will be interesting to hear what his take is on the state of the industry. I wonder if he actually doing to do research to understand the current dynamics.
Looking out broadly into the industry landscape. I see a lot of corporations and a lot of state actors lining up to “give people identities” when they already have them. Everyone has an identity (in fact more then one if they operate in many contexts). The companies who issue identity cards, or in the passport business, or voter registration systems writing really shiny reports with the World Bank and other agencies like that.
What people often don’t have is a formal link to formal government and corporate systems and haven’t been assigned identifiers ye. Then these identifiers are what can be used by other corporate and government systems to point at them some more when they interact with them. This isn’t a bad thing but it isn’t good thing either. It isn’t good when people are not empowered with their own identities and at the effect of these systems. When they are designed to inherently track and surveil and connect together dots about people without their awareness or consent.
I am enthusiastic about the current work around distributed identities and self-sovereign identities but these too have big challenges. Usability, comprehensibility, acceptance by relying parties (like you can use it somewhere)…. not like we have any of these things for digital versions of state issued identifiers either but at least you can walk into bank and hand a physical ID to a banker and get a bank account.