World Economic Forum Addresses Growing Need For Universal Digital ID Systems

The World Economic Forum (WEF) is now pushing for Digital ID systems around the globe in an attempt to build “digital trust.”

They argue that this initiative will lead to more prosperous economic growth for all. 

And that it will help combat the rising cost of living around the world.

Per the WEF, this “trillion-dollar opportunity” can only happen if people can have confidence in who they interact with online. Which is not how our internet and markets are currently structured.

From the WEF’s blog post:

Building digital trust into our global digital economy can unleash trillions of dollars of opportunities. But if we don’t know for certain who we are interacting with online, we cannot have trust. Digital identity must therefore be the foundational element to our digital economy and here is why…

… Given the current global economic challenges – with the possibility of current economies to contract and the cost of living to continue to increase – a glimpse of what digital trust has the potential to deliver is enough to demonstrate why digital identity must be front and centre for the world economy…

The argument for digital trust begins with the advancement of “imminent technological revolutions, game-changers, and paradigm shifts.” 

In other words, since the world is advancing so fast, cybercrime must be combatted through a universal system that ensures security, reliability, and privacy. Three attributes that are not prioritized enough according to the WEF.

As the organization would explain, these attributes would be achieved and derived through “ethics, fairness and inclusivity.” Which a digital ID system would allegedly establish.

Last week, NewsBusters reported that Canada is already plotting the creation of a digital ID system with WEF.

“The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the need for government services to be accessible and flexible in the digital age,” the country’s plan reads. “The next step in making services more convenient to access is a federal Digital Identity Program, integrated with pre-existing provincial platforms.”

More countries ought to adopt this system, the WEF would argue, because the “digital trust gap” is far too great in Western markets compared to non-Western ones. 

Making the claim that places like Canada and the US will need to prioritize shrinking this gap faster than other countries for this ID system to work.

More from the blog on this trust gap:

The factors driving the trust gaps include personal experience of fraud, reading about people’s experiences of falling victim to fraud, and not understanding what information can be trusted online.

But what is the impact of scarce digital trust? We calculated the digital economy was valued at $14.5 trillion in 2021, but the estimated global cost of cybercrime was $6 trillion – or 41% of the digital economy.

What is more concerning is that by 2025, we calculated that the digital economy will be worth $20.8 trillion, but cybercrime will be worth $10.5 trillion.

So despite growing the value of the digital economy, cybercrime will grow more and account for 50% of the size of the digital economy in 2025.

The WEF spoke with Apple Co-founder Steve Wozniak on this topic, and he said that the internet would have been much better off had security and identity been built in from the beginning. 

Now restructuring how these work universally is the paramount goal.

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