Digital Identity Systems proliferate worldwide without any regard for their human rights impact or privacy concerns. Driven by governments and the crony capitalist solutionism peddled by the private sector, official statistics estimate that 80 % of the world’s population is condemned to use them by the end of this decade. These identification systems are a frontal attack on anonymity in the online world, might lead to completely new forms of tracking and discrimination and they are a gift to Google and other companies which are monitoring the behaviour of people on a large scale. In this talk we focus on how the recent EU reform played out, how the UN is becoming a central player in promoting their hasty adoption and which strategies civil society and hackers can deploy to fight back.
After over two years of intense negotiations, the EU recently agreed to their Digital Identity Reform (eIDAS). In this talk we analyse the result, what safeguards we can realistically expect and how our online and offline interactions might change because of this new European Digital Identity Wallet.
Other regions in the world are much further ahead in this issue and we will also try to learn from the experiences from India and Kenya. Both countries had unique strategies from civil society to fight back against the introduction of digital identity systems, focusing on interrogating their design, raising awareness, strategic litigation and civil disobedience post deployment .
Lastly, this issue pops up in many countries and is actively promoted as "Digital Public Infrastructure" by global organisations like UNDP and the World Bank - often with little to know credence to privacy or local realities. This global trend is very worrying due to the shiny veneer hiding their dark reality of exploitation by local and foreign actors. We will showcase strategies how local actors have resisted and shaped the introduction of these systems with a combination of technical, advocacy, and interdisciplinary ally building. Our goal is to provide knowledge about how exactly these systems work, who benefits from them and what strategies could be deployed against them.
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