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Article September 25th, 2017

by Nortal

What's the Next Big Thing After IoT? Try IoH – The Internet of Humans

Watchers of the Internet of Things estimate that roughly 30 billion devices will be hooked up to the net by 2020. We humans could – and should – be next, says one expert.

The concept isn’t quite as sci-fi as it sounds. The ‘human’ element in question would be a person’s secure electronic identity (eID) – a handy tool available in a growing number of countries that allows the unique identification of a person in the digital environment. Relying on secure electronic identity means residents can conduct business via electronic channels and access public e-services.

In markets where it is used to its full potential, eID has become a driver for digitalization, cutting bureaucracy and saving time and money; it also attracts talent. That’s why Karina Egipt, eID expert at Nortal, advocates taking eID to the next level by going global. It’s here that the ‘Internet of Humans’ idea comes into play.

“We all have our physical identity,” she explains. “Within various global service providers (Google, Facebook, etc.), we also have an electronic identity, though it’s limited within isolated industry verticals. Many countries also now have a high-impact and secure electronic identity that works seamlessly within the various services of that state.”

The positive impact of eID both for users and public institutions has prompted more countries around the world to begin working on their own systems. The problem, Egipt says, is that the solutions are bound by state borders where technology interoperability is limited. The processes established to uniquely identify a citizen in one country isn’t aligned with processes in another. As just one example, someone with an eID issued by one country can’t, for instance, use it to set up a company in another country.

In order for us to overcome the cross-border and inter-vertical challenge and truly become global citizens, according to Egipt, what’s needed is a collective vision and collaborative approach to work out a unified internationally accepted perspective providing everyone a unique identifier to confirm his or her identity online. We need to integrate different concepts and technologies to achieve most of the digital transformation.

Such a point of view could be likened to the one created in the 1980s to issue IP addresses, the numerical labels assigned to each device connected to a computer network. The standards were set and internationally accepted, allowing each device to be linked to its unique identifier.

“There will never be one unified technological or security solution that all countries could adopt around the world. That is absolutely fine. The discussion I’m looking to instigate is a discussion that goes beyond technology,” she explains.

“Although it seems to be a highly technological topic, I urge everyone to balance technology with moral and ethical principles. How can we make sure that the human right for privacy is not becoming progressively endangered? We need to consider all associated risks; for example, will it take us a step closer to the situation where the innovation of artificial intelligence will get away from us? ” warns Egipt.

Karina Egipt, eID expert at Nortal, will give a keynote speech “Secure Governance of Digital Identity and Authentication“ on the second day of the World e-ID and Cybersecurity conference, taking place 25 – 27 September 2017 in Marseilles, France. The World e-ID and Cybersecurity conference is one of the most important sector events, where the Estonian ICT cluster is represented by Karina Egipt from Nortal and Georg Nikolajevski from SK ID Solutions. The Estonian ambassador to France, Alar Streimann, will give a speech about securing the digital society while also talking about e-Estonia.

Karina Egipt, Nortal

Karina Egipt

e-Identity Impact Manager

Karina Egipt has been working closely with electronic identity since 2010. She knows that the successful implementation does not end with issuing cards and launching technology. The success of eID depends on the balanced and systematic development of four pillars: eID means and technology, value adding e-services supported by a corresponding legal infrastructure, changing human behavior, and building inclusion. To find out more, get in touch with her via email.

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