13 December, 2006

Mobile Growth & our digital identity at risk

This article commenting on ITU's Internet Report 2006: Digital.Life ties the increasing penetration of mobile phones (approx 2 billion today, rising to 3 billion within 2 years) with identity and privacy:
But the report sounded a note of caution about the step into people's "digital lifestyles". Ms Srivastava said people were increasingly being tied into the flow of information over global electronic networks and were building a "digital identity".

"As our identity becomes a commodity so does our privacy. And that's where we are entering a dangerous area, making privacy only available at a cost," she said.
One substantial difference between internet and mobile technologies is that mobile phones have known identities (eg caller id and because they are more closely tied to billing relationships). However mobile devices become increasingly internet enabled, this advantage will become diluted.

I fear that it will be parts of the world that are newly enfranchised to the mobile phone that will be most at risk - areas where the mobile phone is likely to give rise to mobile banking industry and where the difference between subsistence and poverty is a fine line.

Actually, if you look at the Slide Show of the report, there are a number of slides on the significance of identity. Worth a read.

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