[Dave Birch] OK, so I’m in a tiny minority but I think that security and privacy are important. I think that the state of security and privacy in the digital world demand a proper strategy, of which some form of digital identity infrastructure is a critical part. That’s why I’m always glad to see the government appointing people to tackle the difficult issues around the technology infrastructure that our future depends on. When I was googling something else, I discovered that Paul Murphy is Britain’s “Minister for Digital Inclusion”. This is a real post, not something I made up for the blog. In addition to pottering about at UK online centres
(of which there are 6,000 in the U.K.!) his brief includes “data security and information assurance”. Imagine my surprise, then, when I read that:
Paul Murphy states that he is “not a technical person”.
[From Minister for Digital Inclusion gets Strategic – Convergence Conversation]
Shouldn’t we get someone who is?
[Dave Birch] I was given a useful insight into a different perspective on identity, the developing countries perspective, when I spoke on a panel at the Chatham House conference on Technology and Development. I’d actually been invited along because I know about mobile payments and mobile banking in developing countries, not because I particularly know anything about NGOs, foreign aid or so on, but it gave me the opportunity to sit in on some discussions that I wouldn’t otherwise have heard. For example, one of the audience asked a question about the deployment of mobile phones in the development world, a question that would never have occurred to me. The question was about security and privacy, and I won’t violate Chatham House rules by giving away an identifying information, suffice to say that the core of the question was about the use of mobile phone data, mobile phone location information, call records and billing information. In some countries, where you are and who you call is dangerous information that can have disastrous consequences.