Digital identity all-star team appointed as new Turing Institute International Advisory Board

Atick chairs inaugural members Desai, van der Veen and Varma
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Digital identity all-star team appointed as new Turing Institute International Advisory Board

The Alan Turing Institute is establishing an International Advisory Board for Trustworthy Digital Infrastructure for Identity Systems, and has appointed biometrics pioneer and ID4Africa Executive Chairman Dr. Joseph Atick as the board’s inaugural chair. The board will work to advance the recognition of identity as a human right, and new opportunities in digital ID.

“Today, COVID-19 has both highlighted and accelerated the role of digital identity in extending social safety nets and managing economies as populations and businesses alike adapt and permanently move interactions and commerce online,” Atick comments on the announcement. “Digital advances in identity, particularly biometric technologies, have become essential to the functioning of a healthy society.”

Members of the board also include Netherlands National Office for Identity Data Director of Innovation and Development Dr. Michiel Van Der Veen, Vyjayanti Desai, practice manager in the Identification for Development (ID4D) and the Digitizing Government to Person Payments (G2Px) initiative at World Bank Group, and Dr. Pramod Varma, the chief architect of Aadhaar and the ‘India Stack,’ and CTO of EkStep Foundation.

The Institute lauds the roles of Atick and other board members in the World Bank Group’s ID4D initiative, Aadhaar, ID4Africa and the EU’s eID regulations.

“This Advisory Board is a unique forum set up to enrich understanding of our growing reliance on digital identity systems and the robust considerations needed to avoid harm, address inequalities and protect the citizens these systems are being set up to serve,” says Mark Briers, Programme Director for defence and security, The Alan Turing Institute. “Today numerous approaches to digital identity are supported by complex ecosystems of data stores, networks and interfaces with services. Data science techniques are creating strong opportunities to underpin the trust assumptions required of governments, service providers, and the many businesses and organisations that rely on these systems.”

The International Advisory Board will support the Institute’s four-year project to enhance the privacy and security of national digital identity systems.

“By building the next generation of identity systems to be inclusive, trusted, and digitally enabled, countries can build safer and fairer societies where all people can more easily and securely access services face-to-face and online, and take advantage of new opportunities in the digital economy,” says Desai. “I look forward to being part of this important initiative to make cutting edge privacy- and security-by-design features for identity systems relevant and available to all countries.”

The organization also reiterates its commitment to applying academic rigour and a multi-disciplinary effort to build up understanding about the risks related to identity systems, with the goal of producing tools, guidance and design references based on its priority values of security, privacy, ethics, resilience, robustness, and reliability.

Along with the establishment of the advisory board, the Turing Institute has put out a report on ‘Trustworthy Digital Infrastructure for Digital Identity Systems: The Global Imperative,’ and created a new ‘Interest Group’ focused on ‘Trustworthy Digital Identity.’

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