Digital identity and digital privacy, while always a hot topic, has been particularly newsworthy lately with Facebook refusing to create a backdoor for law enforcement to gain access to its encrypted messaging products. According to the company, “People’s private messages would be less secure and the real winners would be anyone seeking to take advantage of that weakened security.”
Positioning itself as a defender of consumer privacy is something of a departure for Facebook, and shows how seriously the company is trying to repair its image after being accused of mishandling user data. While this latest dispute between Facebook and the government is far from over, one thing is clear: data privacy is a polarizing issue for which no single company or agency has developed the right solution or approach.
As the new decade dawns, a variety of trends are converging to further complicate digital identity, among them:
- Regulatory Environment. Companies are already grappling with increasing data privacy regulations in the form of GDPR and CCPA, to name just a few. And as the most recent Facebook testimony underscores, this landscape is only poised to grow more complex.
- Bitcoin. As Bob Schukai, global head of design for digital identity solutions at Thomson Reuters, put it in a recent webinar, “Bitcoin is challenging the very notion of identity. Many bitcoin transactions can and will take place between parties who do not know each other’s specific identity—nor does the government know.”
- Smart Cities. ARUP estimates that by 2020 the global market for smart urban systems will reach $400 billion. As more cities become “smart” there will be a greater push for eGovernment, in which peoples’ digital identity is the key to gaining access to various services and support.
To say that the concept of digital identity will change as these and other trends come to fruition is an understatement. But there is another aspect of digital identity that’s equally critical—the means by which people authenticate themselves online. It may not be as cutting-edge as bitcoin or as futuristic as smart cities, but the password plays a pivotal role in ensuring the security of peoples’ sensitive digital information.
And now more than ever, it’s essential that people get smart about password use. If you’re one of the 65% of consumers who reuse passwords for some or all of your accounts, it’s important that you stop this bad habit and create strong, unique passwords for every online account.Josh Horwitz, COO, Enzoic
The new year is an opportune time to take stock of your digital identity and ensure you’re doing enough to protect yourself online. If you need help creating a strong password—or want to check that an existing one is still safe—check out our free password check tool here.