Digital ID technology is advancing at a breakneck pace. #GoodID will ensure that it does not cause any problems.

Many technological shifts have been accelerated as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic – how many of us were aware of Zoom before last spring? The rapid development of mRNA COVID vaccines is itself a case study in the advancement of science and technological knowledge. Now, efforts in the United States and Europe to require proof of said vaccination for a variety of activities provide a glimpse of the enormous opportunities that could arise as identification technology advances – as well as a warning of the potential pitfalls that could arise if the process is not carried out correctly.

In the United States, proof is provided in the form of a small piece of black and white paper — or even just a photograph of it — on which the details of one’s vaccination record are frequently handwritten. It has the appearance of an artefact from another era. In comparison, the Digital COVID Certificate issued by the European Union is more secure. Because of its scannable QR code, it can provide instant access to information from government health systems such as vaccination status, COVID-19 test results, and even acquired immunity following an infection.

A digital ID such as the Digital COVID Certificate is an example of such a document

 This technology is becoming increasingly popular among governments as a means of addressing a global issue: the lack of official identification for one billion people all over the world. This is a significant barrier to participating in modern society, restricting access to jobs, education, and even participation in the most basic activities of everyday living. Individuals can use digital IDs to bank, vote, travel, obtain government services, and protect their social media profiles and interactions, all of which are made easier and safer with digital IDs.

This is part of a larger trend that has been occurring over the last decade, in which individuals at all levels of society have become increasingly reliant on – and to a certain extent captive – to digital tools and platforms that are outside of their control, and in which they have become increasingly reliant on digital tools and platforms that are outside their control. The COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the shift to virtual interactions, have heightened the importance of this digital transformation even further. We must ensure that digital ID systems are used in conjunction with robust policies and technical architecture to ensure that they expand rather than contract individuals’ rights and liberties if we are to realize the promise of digital ID systems.

The needs, experiences, and rights of citizens, residents, and consumers must be taken into consideration when developing digital ID technologies and policies. More people must speak out to ensure that these systems expand, rather than erode, freedoms and opportunities. These missed opportunities can have serious ramifications, such as digital ID programmes that compromise privacy, pose security risks, and exclude, marginalise, and even endanger users. The use of such flawed programmes by governments and businesses exposes them to the risk of data breaches, cyberattacks, economic consequences, and the loss of public trust.


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