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The World Economic Forum Wants to Regulate Digital Identity

The World Economic Forum Wants to Regulate Digital Identity

The World Economic Forum (WEF) is calling for internet and metaverse users to have a unique digital identity, potentially tied to a driver’s license, passport, and even biometric data.

WEF contributor Marcus Bonner, the Chief Technologist for Hewlett Packard, believes users need a singular digital identity to navigate multiple platforms and successfully traverse the metaverse

The WEF as a messenger

Digital identity is nothing new. Internet users are already familiar with using Facebook or Google credentials to log into other third-party apps. These digital identities are held and owned by their respective companies, not the users themselves.

In WEF the concept has found a highly controversial cheerleader. The WEF is an international organization of 1,000+ international corporations that work together as lobbyists and social engineers. They are perhaps best known for their “great reset” pandemic plan, and a highly unpopular 2016 blog post titled, “Welcome To 2030: I Own Nothing, Have No Privacy And Life Has Never Been Better.”

Retinal and fingerprint information

The latest WEF piece suggests that digital identities are one of the many causes added to their list. These identities used on the internet or in the metaverse could also be tied to a person’s real identity in the physical world. 

The World Economic Forum Wants to Regulate Digital Identity

Marcus Bonner says, “like a user’s identity in the physical world, their digital identity will be composed, at least in part, of existing methods of authentication such as a driver’s licence, national insurance or social security number, passport, or retinal and fingerprint information for individuals, while corporations could refer to a company number or operating licence.”

The article does not go as far as to say who would control or regulate these digital identities.

One Twitter user, simply going by the name of Alecs, was concerned that such an identity system could be used to block internet and metaverse access in the future.

“So the @wef is pushing their digital identity agenda, in which they’re effectively banning you from accessing the internet, unless you have a digital ID,” Alecs said.

The notion of an internet of digital identities continues to concern and alarm users. More so when the idea comes from the WEF, whose previous future-gazing imaged a reality in which individuals owned nothing and had absolutely no privacy.

Rent-free dream house

In 2016 the WEF went on to describe the ideal rent-free dream house of the future as follows:

“In our city we don’t pay any rent, because someone else is using our free space whenever we do not need it. My living room is used for business meetings when I am not there.”

Web3 has a different digital identity

With the nightmare scenario for digital identity already laid bare, there are Web3 firms trying to create their own digital decentralized identities.

Lens Protocol, CyberConnect, Ceramic, and Lit are among the players creating decentralized identities and information streams, marketing them as a way for users to control their data, as opposed to letting centralized players such as Facebook and Google control it.

The World Economic Forum Wants to Regulate Digital Identity
Digital identities in the metaverse are likely to work in a similar way to how they work in the real world.

The history of digital identity can be traced back to the early days of the internet, when users first started to access online services and needed a way to authenticate themselves.

Some of the earliest examples of digital identity systems include password-based authentication systems and simple username and password combinations. As the internet grew and more people started using it, the need for more sophisticated digital identity systems became apparent.

The internet spawned digital identities

This led to the development of things like two-factor authentication, which adds an extra layer of security by requiring users to provide a second form of authentication, such as a code sent to their phone. Today, digital identity systems are an essential part of our online lives, and they continue to evolve and become more sophisticated.

“Know thyself” – this quote is attributed to the ancient Greek philosopher Socrates and is often used to encourage people to think deeply about their own identities and what makes them who they are.

Just like in the real world, people will have unique identities that they can use to interact with others and access different services. In the metaverse, these digital identities will likely be tied to virtual avatars that represent users in the virtual world.

The World Economic Forum Wants to Regulate Digital Identity

These avatars will be customizable and will allow users to express themselves and interact with others in a way that is similar to how they do in the real world.

That sort of digital identity may not sound entirely bad, but when a similar concept is also being pushed by organizations such as WEF, do the benefits outweigh the risks? 


Image credits: Shutterstock, CC images, Midjourney, Unsplash.