Will technology help safeguard our virtual identities?

Will technology ever be able to help safeguard a virtual identity? It’s a debate that is set to go on indefinitely for as long as we continue to innovate. We have covered both sides of the argument - join the debate and have your say.

Yes, says George, The Fraud Prevention Guru

The key driver of change in our society for the past 200 years has been technology.

Right now it’s no different, other than the perception of what it means to be hyper-connected – the ability to always be plugged into the internet.  This offers the ability to always have relevant information with technology creating smart offers based on your location, useful information about traffic or local events and real-time information about your finances, all of which require your device to ‘tell’ technology who and where you are.

Right now smart technology underpins everything from mobiles, televisions, cars and into emerging trends around wearables, microchips and biometrics. It’s broadly accepted that technology will continue to pave the way for the next evolution in our personal security – despite it being a cultural and fundamental shift in the way we’re identified.

Smart technology is transforming how individuals can be identified. Take biometrics. Fingerprints, voice analysis, iris patterns, vein matching, gait analysis, and so on are near-unique, individual traits – and generally – incredibly difficult to fake. With the right technology, biometrics are likely to offer us speed, scale and the keys to unlocking digital value in customer journeys.

There’s a degree of unease about being hyper-conneccted and personal privacy, but it’s a societal learning curve and with the right restrictions, well-informed, considered guidance and some common sense, the proliferation of smart devices and the benefits unlimited digital storage capacity offers are likely to safely continue.

Technology offers us some fantastic opportunities and we should always consider embracing them.  But it’s up to us to adapt and use technology to our advantage and help protect ourselves from the impact of fraudsters and criminals.

No, says Penny, The Identity Verification Master

Some in society will – quite rightly – question its prevalence and our reliance on technology. How reliable will it be? How safe will it be? What are the personal risk factors posed by adoption?

While everyone favours the relentless drive to digital, shouldn’t we be asking whether it’s wise to simply rely exclusively on this type of technology for our security? Bear in mind that irrespective of how ‘smart’ the technology is, there will always be concerns and counter-arguments suggesting the data underpinning it can be faked or spoofed. The technology can be hacked or subverted. We’re in a technological arms race with fraudsters and ID thieves. So therefore it’s fair to argue that it will, in time, become as vulnerable as other platforms.

In all likelihood smart technology and innovations like biometrics will be best used as an additional layer in an ever-growing armory of multi-layered security measures. It may not be for everyone but it’s another tier of protection against ID thieves.

We also have to be committed to identity inclusiveness sand ensuring we all play our part in protecting vulnerable people. For example, how comfortable will older people be in relying on wearable devices? What happens if they get stolen?

Widespread technological adoption for our virtual identities will see the whole issue of personal liability become a legal minefield. This isn’t just the opinion of a technological naysayer – look at the liability issues around driverless cars. Widespread adoption and reliance on even more technological devices will see even more debates around critical liability emerging.