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Atlantic Council stresses importance of DPI, data for stronger digital economies

Atlantic Council stresses importance of DPI, data for stronger digital economies
 

The Atlantic Council has highlighted the importance of digital identity and digital public infrastructure (DPI) in birthing and growing strong, prosperous and resilient digital economies, including in the United States, in an analysis.

In the article titled “Designing a blueprint for open, free and trustworthy digital economies,” the U.S.-based think tank posits that digital identity is not only crucial for secure, trustworthy and interoperable digital infrastructure, it can facilitate “access to goods and services, provide recourse to fraud victims and help authorities hold bad actors responsible.”

Although post author Carole House looks at the development of DPI more broadly, she however focuses a bit on efforts deployed in the United States to put in place secure and interoperable digital identity tools, even as she says progress on domestic or cross border digital identity frameworks have been limited.

It is the view of the writer that “investing in digital identity can unluck economic benefits, drive value for the nation’s GDP, and provide access to critical services and opportunities.” Such investments, she adds, can contribute to preserving the gains of a global, secure and free internet.

The paper admits that while the government in the United States has all what it takes to promote and encourage investment in digital identity as part of the DPI ecosystem, there is need for identity security guarantees which are vital for establishing trust.

In this vein, the author emphasizes that there is the undeniable need for policy makers and other influential government figures to work in close collaboration with industry to “ensure that identity systems implement appropriate controls for security, privacy and equity.”

She also recommends that such policies should align with established standards of the National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST).

Other than DPI, the post also addresses the issue of data governance, underlining the fact that there is need to put in place comprehensive data governance policies that “address privacy, control and integrity”

The analysis says because data is incredibly valuable in the digital economy, efforts must be made to address questions around privacy, security and integrity, while giving credit to efforts already being made to ensure that greater data control power stays in the hands of consumers or the data owner.

In the U.S., the author regrets that the country’s data privacy framework is splintered as different states are pursuing individual efforts without a federal consumer data privacy legislation.

Nonetheless, she believes that there’s absolute need to consider frameworks that preserve consumer and democratic control and ownership of data, given the importance of user privacy when weighed against “the economic impacts and innovations enabled by the free flow and aggregation of data.”

In a recent interview with Biometric Update, the CEO of ID verification services provider Seamfix unscored the how digital ID and DPI can unlock Africa’s economic growth potential and drive its digital economy.

Meanwhile, in another report by Atlantic Council, the think tank takes an intent look at how China is promoting its authoritarian governance model and economic success in countries across the Global South through the export of digital technology.

The report says the Chinese government has been doing this through training and support programs for senior government officials on diverse areas including security technologies. There is no detailed mention of surveillance.

Data, key pillar of generative AI

In a related discussion about technology and the digital economy, the World Economic Forum (WEF) in an article examines the importance of data in the digital world.

The write-up describes data as one of the three major pillars of generative AI, reason why discussions around it must not be treated with levity.

Per the article, there has been a lot of public and policy discourse about digital identity and digital public infrastructure, but not much is said about data, in the absence of which these other notions would not make sense.

As a recommendation, the authors of the article advance that going forward, global discussions such as within the G20 should dedicate ample time to data discourses so as to enhance the exchange of knowledge on data related aspects including data governance, the risks involved in data management as well as the opportunities to leverage.

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