There is a lot of talk about e-government and digital-governance at the time, here in Italy. There are a lot of ideas, projects, and plans. Among all the discussions, I see that the next very big need is on IDENTIFICATION and COMUNICATION.
Primarily, we don’t have a safe way to get identified on internet, without the risk of censorship, political/personal/public/privacy attack. So far it seems you can’t get 100% identified and 100% safe against spam, scam and hack.
There are ways that google, amazon, and other big companies are trying to implement (mobile phone check) or even futuristic ideas like One-Id. Maybe they will crack the problem and solve once for all (I doubt) very soon.
In the mean time we should work on what is really a need for the customers: my second point, COMUNICATION.
I see over and over the necessity to provide a simple channel between the millions of citizens and the thousands of private/public companies which the citizens interact with.
One example: yesterday I got a new identity card, a new identity document with legal value. I cannot count how many databases now keep an old, unusable identity card number, associated with me as a customer. Thousands? Maybe more than that. And how many need to comply with the law, to update the record? Maybe hundreds.
You know what is going to happen, right?
In the best case: first time I go to their shop/office and I buy a new product or I subscribe to a new service, they will ask me a personal identity document, and they can update my record.
Average case: first time I go to their shop/office and I buy a new product or I subscribe to a new service, they will ask me a personal identity document, and they will keep a paper copy of my document. NO DIGITAL update.
Worse case: first time I go to their shop/office and I buy a new product or I subscribe to a new service, they won’t ask me anything. Too in a rush. NO DIGITAL update.
Worst case: I don’t go again to their shop/office and they keep forever an old version of my personal document. NO DIGITAL update.
How can we change this disaster?
CHEAP, FAST, QUICK, SAFE SOLUTION
A draft idea, which need long discussions about safety, concern for privacy, and defense against spam, is the following.
I go to a website
This solution is hiding the fact that I previously signed up with my details, and so and so.
But that is expected anyway, isn’t it?
And if anyway I have a loooot of concern for privacy and scam, I am not giving any new detail over the internet (do you use credit cards online? no? do you?), I am just sending a notification to all companies and people who may need to know that I have a new identity document. If they need to (re-)issue a contract or service, they can call me, or email me, or mail me, and get the record new as it deserve to be.