The rapid onset of technological advancement is not evenly spread. Society is increasingly becoming digitally literate and uses emerging technology for work, to communicate and pay for things in ways unimaginable just 15 years ago. So, why are methods of governance largely unchanged since the invention of liberal democracy hundreds of years ago?
Although many aspects of government remain entrenched in the past, one area is being brought into the 21st century: identity. With fears regarding third-party data abuse, citizens are more concerned than ever about how this affects their lives and their sovereignty. A number of innovative government departments have sensed these fears and are trialling blockchain solutions to better protect and empower their citizens.
As it stands, most personal data created runs through the hands of governments and tech giants such as Facebook and Google. In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica private data scandal, people are becoming more aware of the value of data and how it shapes the world. By virtue of lives being increasingly lived online, data is generated by things like medical records, browser history and property records.
This information can be used to make decisions about individuals with far-reaching consequences, such as whether or not a defendant appearing in court is likely to commit another crime, or whether someone qualifies for a mortgage or health insurance. In the same way, missing or incomplete data can prevent people from accessing their pension or other financial services.
The infrastructure for defending all this valuable personal data is not fit to defend itself against threats from malicious actors, as Alastair Johnson, CEO of the e-commerce payments and ID platform Nuggets, told Cointelegraph:
“For years, the digital space has been a playground for malicious actors to exploit and abuse user data on platforms in finance through to social media. From incompetence to sophisticated attacks, it has become…