This is the second part of the two-part Identity Series. It narrows in on Nigeria’s part to play in fortifying personal data and suggests what can be done towards identity management.
In the physical world, identity and identity protection are proving to be very important, especially since governments are seeing how useful data can be in solving problems. Nigeria has taken advantage of this regarding the steps they have taken in its banking, identification and immigration sectors which have been introduced into mainstream usage. For biometrics to take full effect and provide the level of protection that is needed for its citizens to feel safe, there will need to be an almost impenetrable database that the owners of the identities can trust in. We are not far from this future. The modes of biometric identification have been split between physiological (face, fingerprint, hand geometry, palm print, iris, DNA) and behavioural (keystroke, signature, voice), further expanding its possibilities in protecting individual identity.
At the ID4Africa2019 meeting, the Director General of Nigeria’s National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Engr. Aliyu A. Aziz, shared the parastatal’s rather calculated plan to reinvent the ID ecosystem in Nigeria and how it wished to go about taking advantage of the many innovations in the world of identity. He noted that delivery of economic services and identification have a strong connection, especially in our fast-paced world in promoting growth and opportunities listing the initiative’s targets as children, adults, diaspora, foreign legal residents, refugees, internally displaced persons and undocumented people. He concluded his presentation by saying that it is important that there is ID4ALL as this will help in identifying the targeted beneficiaries of a programme/project/scheme which will go ahead to bridge the huge poverty gap; ensuring accountability of each citizen and easy access to services, restore growth and assist in participating in the digital economy.
Fears have arisen with concerns that we are moving towards a society that has neither secrets nor cyber safety as our devices are listening and watching us; collecting data we have not granted them access to and providing AI generated ads based on what we have not even begun to search for. This worry for breach in privacy has us asking a big question about what the future of identity and identity management is. Though there are bound to be setbacks towards global realization of the obvious answer to this question which is blockchain. Blockchain or blockchain-like technology will allow people to have control over their data and identity so that they can share it more proactively whenever and however they want to. We believe that the enterprises that benefit the most from the personal data of their customers should come together to create solutions that enable their users are not left insecure. Active work is already being done by stakeholders to provide a blockchain solution sooner than we think to serve as the residence for all identity claims. Blockchain’s decentralization and security encryption features amongst others, are what have made it most attractive as a panacea for identity management and the ultimate future of identity.
With the above in mind, fears can be put to rest and individuals can sleep a little better knowing that their digital identity is secure.