Research on digital identity ecosystems

Francesca Bria et al at NESTA/D-CENT: “This report presents a concrete analysis of the latest evolution of the identity ecosystem in the big data context, focusing on the economic and social value of data and identity within the current digital economy. This report also outlines economic, policy, and technical alternatives to develop an identity ecosystem and management of data for the common good that respects citizens’ rights, privacy and data protection.

Key findings

  • This study presents a review of the concept of identity and a map of the key players in the identity industry (such as data brokers and data aggregators), including empirical case studies of identity management in key sectors.
  • The “datafication” of individuals’ social lives, thoughts and moves is a valuable commodity and constitutes the backbone of the “identity market” within which “data brokers” (collectors, purchasers or sellers) play key different roles in creating the market by offering various services such as fraud, customer relation, predictive analytics, marketing and advertising.
  • Economic, political and technical alternatives for identity to preserve trust, privacy and data ownership in today’s big data environments are formulated. The report looks into access to data, economic strategies to manage data as commons, consent and licensing, tools to control data, and terms of services. It also looks into policy strategies such as privacy and data protection by design and trust and ethical frameworks. Finally, it assesses technical implementations looking at identity and anonymity, cryptographic tools; security; decentralisation and blockchains. It also analyses the future steps needed in order to move into the suggested technical strategies….(More)”