The Digital Transformation of National Identity
Digital identity systems are quietly reshaping the world. They are transforming everything from how we move across borders to how we conduct commerce and interact with our governments. They are even changing the very definition of citizenship itself. National identity systems are now gaining electronic components — and they are quickly becoming the norm for most people around the world. Offering an incredible tool to implement reforms, this technology can help to transform the lives of billions of people by providing them recognition, resources, security, and access. Yet there are also enormous challenges involved as well. This powerful technology can be used to digitize discrimination and undermine civil liberties, while posing enormous cyber-security risks to individuals and the world at large.
Tarun Wadhwa is a senior research associate with the Think India Foundation, where he analyzes the issues and challenges that India is facing due to urbanization. Tarun is completing a book on the promise and the perils of India’s national identity system, the largest project of its kind in the world. He has been a researcher with the Vivekananda International Foundation in New Delhi, India; has conducted research on globalization and trade-related issues for Harvard Law School, Duke’s Pratt School of Engineering, and Patton Boggs LLP; and has worked on advocacy, labor, and privacy issues with the Campaign For Youth Justice; Office of the U.S. Secretary of Labor, Elaine Chao; and the North Carolina Attorney General's Office.