Digital identity between pluralism and monotheism

When we talk about identity, we are talking about belonging or belonging to a certain strategic unit, or membership in it. There is a national identity that expresses a person’s belonging to a large strategic entity, which is the homeland. That identity carries a special number that does not change, and remains with a person from the day of birth to the day of departure. And then there is the passport that arose from the national identity, which gives the bearer a wide dimension of movement that includes the whole world. There is also a functional identity connected to another strategic unit, which is a business entity. Then there is the identity of the bank represented by the account number, the identity of the sports club and the identity of subscribing to infrastructure services, such as electricity, water and health services, in addition to other identities that express the human connection with different strategic units.

So we find that each of us has several identities, which can increase and decrease depending on human connections, but the national identity remains the basis on which all other multiple identities are based.

In the cyber world, digital identity retains the characteristics and multiplicity of traditional identity, and adds new ones to it. Each digital ID is linked to a password that allows its owner to access the website of the respective strategic unit and receive information and services provided to its owners. The cyber world has opened the door to many other digital identities for each individual, such as e-mail addresses, addresses of electronic government services provided by various ministries and departments, in addition to the addresses of various social networks that are gaining more and more influence. to different human societies. Thus, the digital identity not only inherited the plurality of the traditional identity, but also added more pluralism to it.

There is no doubt that identity, in its traditional and digital form, represents a means of managing the affairs of its owners, getting to know them, dealing with them and providing various services. However, its plurality represented a complication that required finding appropriate solutions. Even in the mid-1990s, more than a quarter of a century ago, the British government noticed that most government ministries operate independently of other government services. And I expressed this by saying that this indicated that the work of the government was based on a vertical structure, which included the existence of a separate vertical entity for each party, and I felt that this was a weakness in the horizontal communication between them, and that this led to a reduction in the level government performance.

As a result of the above, the British government launched an initiative called “Joined-Up Government” in 1997. This initiative aims to build horizontal bridges between entity ministries and government departments, in order to improve government performance, especially in matters that require joint work between these ministries and departments. It should be noted here that the principle of communication and building bridges between different government bodies for better government performance was also mentioned in the topic of building “smart cities”, which we talked about in an article on this page on July 13, 2017.

The British joint government initiative was well received at the international level, and in the first years of the 21st century ideas and opinions about it appeared, as its title “The Joining Government Approach” was replaced by the new title “The Joining Government Approach”. A whole of government approach”. An international report on this approach was published in 2012 by the International Institute for Software Technology of the United Nations University, which in turn is affiliated with the United Nations Organization UNU-IIST. It should be noted that the headquarters of this university is located in Japan, and that the headquarters of the institute is in China.

The subject “Whole Government Approach” has had an effective impact on the development of e-government systems, and in response to the need to implement e-government services that require the implementation of procedures involving operations carried out by more than one government. agency, directly, through the corresponding e-portal. In addition, procedures have been added that require financial operations, such as paying service fees through banks. This was also the case in business with the services of various companies, such as telecommunications, electricity and water supply, in addition to health institutions.

Working to implement a whole-of-government approach, ideas have emerged that seek to develop this approach, not to be sufficient with the whole of government, but to encompass the entire country, along with ideas that call for a unifying digital identity. The periodic report “E-Government Survey 2020” highlighted the whole-of-government approach, along with the need to unify the national identity and establish a “one-stop e-government portal”. ” which allows each individual to receive all e-government services through their unique identity. In the case of a whole nation approach, that identity becomes the appropriate definition for all services and other economic and social activities.

The adoption of a unique electronic identity per person, at the state level, at the national level, and perhaps at the global level, allows multiple benefits. It enables an individual to receive services, perform professional and social activities, partner in these activities with others, perform duties and claim rights, through his unique identity. Thus, each individual under the title of this identity receives a complete record of all the above. On the other hand, two important and complementary issues stand out here. The first is the protection of the security of this identity. Every theft of it, and a password or a password that leads to access to the activities of its owner, allows the thief to present himself as the owner of the identity and invade all aspects of his life. As for the second question, it refers to the preservation of the privacy of information about the owner of the identity, by all relevant government and private agencies.

If we look to the future, based on the above, we can see that the development of the cyber world and its various services is aimed at ensuring a unique electronic identity for each person, and a unique electronic record of all their activities through this identity. In addition, artificial intelligence data will be at the service of that identity, either in building an electronic record of its owner’s activities, or in its protection, and preserving the privacy of that record, or perhaps in other innovative modern things that we have not yet understood.

* Quoted from Al-Eqtisadiah newspaper.

All published articles represent the sole opinion of their authors.

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