Identity in a Digital World: Adjusting for Reality, Security, and Privacy

Expert Connect:
Identity in a Digital World
Wednesday, July 18 @ 10 am EDT

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Identity plays a major role in everyday life. Think about going to an office, getting on a plane, logging on to a website or making an online purchase. Identity is the key that determines the transactions in which we can rightfully participate as well as the information we’re entitled to access.

For much of history, our identity has been designed for an analog world, based on face-to-face interactions and on physical documents and processes. We don’t pay much attention to the management of our identity credentials unless something goes seriously wrong.

The transition to a digital economy, however, requires a radically different approach to managing identity. In a world that’s increasingly governed by digital transactions and data, our existing methods for managing security and privacy are proving inadequate. Reports of data breaches, large-scale fraud, and identity theft are too common. What’s more, a significant portion of the world’s population lacks the credentials needed to participate in the digital economy.

To understand the magnitude of this issue, consider that while mostly associated with individuals, identities can also be assigned to legal entities like corporations, partnerships and trusts; to physical entities like cars, buildings, smartphones and Internet-connected devices (IoT); and to digital entities like patents and software programs. Our existing methods for managing identity, particularly digital identities, have not kept pace with a digital world that touches nearly every aspect of our personal, business and social lives.

To explore this complex issue, the Center for Global Enterprise (CGE) is launching “Identity in a Digital World,” a free global forum through its Global Scholars Program (GSP) to gather leading-edge, practical, and applied learning on the topic of Digital Identity and the implications for business and management.

This program will be open to institutional and individual members of the CGE Global Scholars Program and the public. After the inaugural program in July, monthly forums will be held beginning in September. Dr. Irving Wladawsky-Berger, CGE Fellow, will lead the forum and guide its curriculum.

Joining Dr. Wladawsky-Berger for the first forum–an introduction to Digital Identity–will be Thomas Hardjono, technical director for the MIT Internet Trust Consortium. Mr. Hardjono leads technical projects and initiatives around identity, security and privacy in emerging technologies such as IoT, smart contracts and blockchain systems.

Institutions and individuals interested in the topic and its impact on global management best practices as encouraged to apply at

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