Digital Controversy! #13: Digital identity

Digital Controversy! #13 addresses the topic ‘Digital identity – equal access for all or a superlative surveillance tool?’

‘On the internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.’ The famous cartoon published in the New Yorker in 1993 sums up what used to be a key feature of the internet: anonymity. But those days are long gone. Every time we click on something, we leave a trail on the internet – either by ‘liking’ Facebook posts, using our Google account or shopping online. Our identity in the virtual world is becoming increasingly linked to our physical selves. Digital identities play an important role here. They enable people to be authenticated online, often with the help of biometric data, and many countries now use digital identities as the key to unlocking access to social services, political participation and economic progress. For the billion people throughout the world without proof of identity, digital identities offer huge potential. They can help close ‘identity gaps’.

Collecting and storing personal data in digital form through digital identities is often at odds with the right to privacy and data protection, however – and with participation and inclusion. What happens if a scanner is unable to read someone’s fingerprints because they have been worn away after years of heavy manual work? Or if everyone can be identified immediately in future through facial recognition? How transparent will I ultimately become as a user of digital identities for authorities and companies? Who decides who has access to my personal data? And what risk are we exposing ourselves to if central identity databases are already the target of cyber attacks?

One tech topic. Two very different guests. A great deal of controversy. That’s the exciting idea behind Digital Controversy!

Venue and date

GIZ-Repräsentanz Berlin
Reichpietschufer 20
10785 Berlin

Thursday, 27 February 2020, 18:30 to 21:00


Admission is free. Please register by 26 February 2020 at www.digital-kontrovers.de.

Further Information