Primer on Digital Identity – Blockchain, Philosophy and the Law

Date: Wednesday, March 20, 2019
Time: 1pm-2pm
Venue: Academic Conference Room, 11/F Cheng Yu Tung Tower, The University of Hong Kong

Speaker: Andrej Zwitter (Professor of Governance and Innovation; Dean of Campus Fryslân, University of Groningen)

Abstract: Digital Identity has commonly assumed to be mostly machine identity (e.g. IP address) rather than a personal identity. This approach is outdated. Since the emergence of cyberspace, individuals are increasingly represented in the digital space and the amount of personally identifiable information (PII) available about them is growing in size and granularity. Blockchain technology promises to provide a temper-proof ledger to ensure that individuals will be able to preserve their identity digitally and in the real world. For example, the World Food Programme pioneered a Blockchain based approach to biometric ID and digital payments for refugees in Lebanon doing away with the need for physical documents or valets. Can blockchain serve as a backbone for the future of Digital Identity? This presentation will delve into the intricacies of identity from a philosophical and legal perspective to identify the prerequisites for the future of Digital Identity.

About the speaker: Andrej Zwitter is Professor of Governance and Innovation, Director of the Data Research Centre and Dean of Campus Fryslân, University of Groningen, the Netherlands. He is also a senior fellow at Canterbury Christ Church University. His research foci include Big Data ethics, cyber governance, state of emergency politics, political, legal and ethical implications of digitalization. Prof. Zwitter has a PhD in International Law and Legal Philosophy. He is passionate about understanding how modern technology affects society and how it can contribute to solving global challenges.

Selected recent books in the area of Big Data and Humanitarian action include:
– Zwitter, A. Humanitarian Intelligence – A Practitioner’s Guide to Crisis Analysis and Project Design, Rowman and Littlefield 2016
– Bunnik, Cawley, Mulqueen, Zwitter (eds.), Big Data Challenges: Society, Security, Innovation, and Ethics, Palgrave Macmillan: 2016

All are welcome!