The connection between data privacy and digital identity may not be a conundrum after all. Rather, digital IDs may be a solution to identity theft and form the backbone of robust cybersecurity practices of the future. In 2020, 75% of large companies and 68% of medium-sized businesses in the UK reported a data breach in the last 12 months, according to the UK Cyber Security Breaches Survey. This cannot go on.


Every second of every day, more and more personal data is out there on the internet, freely available to be hacked, stolen or used for identity fraud. To open an online account, participate in e-commerce, or even prove your age, you need to confirm your identity using a physical or digitized document. In this technologically-based world of relentless data breaches and increasing fraud, why aren’t we erring on the side of caution? Why aren’t individuals and business opting for digital identification?


The answer is trust. Nobody wants to hand over a potential timebomb of personal data if they don’t trust how it will be used and by whom. The UK government understands this reticence and in February this year launched a framework outlining the future governance of digital identities. For the world to adopt digital identity, it needs to know that data is safe and secure and cannot be compromised.


What is the best way to move forward with digital identification?  The key to its successful implementation is only to reveal what needs to be revealed. For example, if you are buying a subscription for an online magazine, the vendor doesn’t need to know your physical address. If digital identities were fair game for all, every piece of personal information about you would be shareable and stealable at the touch of a button. With privacy at the core, digital IDs need to be selective. You only give the vendor or supplier the information they need.


It’s still early days for digital identification but pilot testing has begun. In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, Mastercard recently partnered with Deakin University and Australia Post to test out a digital ID solution enabling students to register for their exams digitally. This negated the need for physical documents, journeys to campus, and also reduced the amount of data shared about each student.


Digital IDs can provide businesses, governments, educational institutions, and individuals with an end-to-end solution to data protection and data privacy. Richard Wormald, the Division President of Mastercard Australia, says:

“Digital identity must be built on a framework of trust, partnership and consumer choice. Integrating with ID’s highly secure network enables these services to extend the reach of their existing offering, while enabling consumers to stay in complete control over where their identity data is stored and how it is used.”