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OPLIN 4Cast #763: Digital IDs are now a thing. But, are they safe?

Posted in 4cast, and privacy

I hate carrying things around in my pockets—big collections of keys, jangling coins, a bulky phone case—but the worst for me is sitting on a bulging wallet. (I’m old; I have sciatica flare-ups.) I keep trying the minimalist wallets, but the number of IDs that I need to carry around, especially that enormous, doesn’t-fit-into-anything CDC vaccination card, just keeps growing, now matter how many loyalty cards I shred. Could my phone take the place of all that? As with so much we write about here in the 4cast, the outlook appears both promising and troubling.

  • Colleges across the US and Canada are adopting virtual student IDs [The Verge] “In theory, the virtual student ID should offer all the functionality of a regular student ID — holders can access restricted areas of campus or pay for amenities like food and laundry by placing their iPhone or Apple Watch near a physical reader… The app can also store hotel room keys with the release of iOS 15 and will support driver’s licenses and state IDs.”
  • Privacy and efficacy concerns remain for New York’s vaccine passport apps [NBC News] “The reliability of these systems hinge on the accuracy of the underlying data — and given the speed, distributed nature, and politicization of how COVID vaccinations have been deployed — that underlying data is often unreliable or incomplete.”
  • Better digital living with blockchain-backed verifiable credentials [The Paypers: Voice of the Industry] “By adopting an open approach to building this new interoperable, standardised framework, we can offer governments, businesses, institutions and the consumer themselves a way to issue, store and hold their identification and all their credentials in a secure digital wallet, easily shared with whomever needs to see them, and only them. Think how much easier life will be when you don’t have to worry about where your birth certificate is.”
  • How some countries are using digital ID to exclude vulnerable people around the world [The Conversation] “Debates like these are only going to become more prevalent over the next 10 years: a homeless man who can no longer travel on public transport because the bus company only takes card, not cash payments; an elderly African American woman blocked from voting because she cannot provide a federal-issued ID; or a woman told she has to stop working because the system has flagged her up as an ‘illegal’ immigrant.”

From the Ohio Web Library: