2020 Vision

INNOTRIBE_FOCUS_26SEP19

Happy New Year everyone. Here’s looking forward to a fascinating 2020 in the world of digital finance. Predictions are difficult, as they say, especially about the future, so I won’t bore you with my shortlist of predictions for 2030. Instead, I thought I’d bore you with a few things I said in 2010!

"I’ve mentioned (in a tedious, repetitive cycle) that there is a connection between national ID schemes, financial inclusion and payments. To put it crudely, if you “solve” the “ID problem” then the “payment problem” goes away. Let’s set aside what any of those phrases in quotation marks actually mean for a moment”.

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"So who is going to provide the simple, ubiquitous 2FA for the web? Not banks with their dongles. Logically, I’m sure it should be MNOs, but I don’t think any of them have a strategy for this sort of thing”.

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"Unless we introduce a firm plan for online anonymity pretty soon, we’re not going to have any anonymity at all… This may have the unexpected consequence of driving more interpersonal and corporate interaction into virtual worlds, because it is only in virtual worlds that the technology available in any reasonable timescale can deliver individual privacy”.

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"So it turns out that you don’t have to be a Russian spy under deep cover or a highly-trained Mossad operative, you just need Photoshop and an ink-jet printer. Just as the credit card counterfeiters discovered, something has gone wrong: the current identity infrastructure inconveniences the innocent more than the guilty”.

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"I particularly like the way in which the cards generate per-service provider pseudonyms, so that everytime the customer logs in to, say, Amazon, they would have the same “ID number”, but the bank would see a different number and so would the tax authority or another store or anyone else. This basic partitioning was precisely the kind of intelligent design decision that I would have advised the UK Home Office to adopt, had they asked me”.

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"Pretty much every decision that the British government has made about ID cards has not only turned out to wrong, but almost optimally wrong. The collection of civil servants, management consultants, ministers and special advisors managed to leave us in as bad a situation as when they started — with no national identity management infrastructure — but hundreds of millions out of pocket...The current coalition are just as bad: they have no strategic vision for identity, no tactics for getting us there and (crucially) no more understanding of the technology than their New Labour predecessors (who, to be fair, didn’t understand the problem either)”.

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"We have Payments Council and a National Payment Plan (NPP)… Perhaps one option for an incoming administration might be an Identity Council and a National Identity Plan (NIP).

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Of the many credentials that might be associated with a digital identity as part of a commercial, sustainable business model, the IS_A_PERSON credential might be the trigger for the evolution of a more comprehensive infrastructure”.

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"I don’t like SMS-based solutions because, should they become widespread then they will become spoofed, so I would much prefer an industry-wide approach to a genuinely secure solution with key pairs generated inside the SIM and SIM-based applications for encryption and signing (thereby not depending on security in the network or handset)”.

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"Surely what will actually happen is that all traffic will become encrypted, since enterprising teenagers will soon spend ten minutes writing software to encrypt everything to avoid being caught by the Pyrate-Finder General and his minions, and the security services will find it utterly impossible to monitor any net traffic at all”.

"I have a slightly old-fashioned policy towards LinkedIn. When I get a connection request, I won’t accept unless it is someone that I’ve spoken to (or, preferably, met in person)”.