What is Digital Identity?


Digital identity management focuses on enabling users to create a single digital identity that can be used in any place where a login is required to access a website or service. It is not a single technology, but a group of related technologies and ideas. In the simplest terms, one’s digital identity is a method that allows recognition any place where a log-in is needed. A variety of different systems are being developed, and though they have the same broad purpose of creating a sign-on system that is convenient and secure for an individual rather than a company or organization, ideas about what precisely defines a user-centric identity system and how that would be implemented are still widely varied. Both Google and Facebook are positioning their systems to be the “home” of one’s digital identity.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • As soon as we move away from a central LMS to a suite of educational technologies, including open web-based apps, the complexities of integration and navigation become complex and require the use of an identity beyond the institution itself - robyn.jay robyn.jay Aug 23, 2010
  • Digital Identities provide both an opportunity for institutions to engage over extended periods of time with students, helping them grow their skills and qualifications over time, but also a risk in that stable identities facilitate Government desires for students to be able to mix and match educational experiences from multiple sources and, possibly via portfolios, gain recognised qualifications. The risk is not that this is a bad idea but that the consequences for institutional viability could be severe if the providers are not carefully managed. At the pure identity level this is already starting with systems like EduRoam, I could easily see this grow or similar services become more useful. - stephen.marshall stephen.marshall Aug 26, 2010
  • The Eduroam initiative is pointing the way for higher education single identity and enables ease of sign-on for people moving between institutions. This is something that might profitable be extended to the wider community after all we already have a number of unique identifiers e.g. tax numbers etc. This would also allow portability and transferability of learning and qualifications and fits within the eportfolio movement. The down side is the Identity Number argument and the 'big brother' perceptions. Nonetheless, given the ubiquitous nature of technology in our lives it seems to be an idea whose time is near, but with safeguards- gordon.suddaby gordon.suddaby Aug 30, 2010
  • The use of cloud computing is threatened more by the multiplicity of identities that are required to use any significant number of services, than by any notion of security issues in using cloud services. In the higher education and research sector, solutions such as Eduroam and the Australian Access Federation (AAF) have demonstrated the value of federating identity to reduce this complexity. Ultimately, establishing identity is likely to be outsourced to large organisations, external to institutions, such as the Post Office and this will allow the more seamless use of common identities for both university and commercial services - nick.tate nick.tate Sep 2, 2010.
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(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • I think the concepts of multiple identities, managed to separate professional and personal lives is an important aspect to this that needs to be addressed, also the ability to remove an identity permanently and effectively. From the opposite end, the ability for an identity to be persistent, passing through multiple systems and vendors is important - we can't all realistically maintain vanity domains... - stephen.marshall stephen.marshall Aug 26, 2010
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(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, or creative expression?

  • This technology lowers the challenges encountered through the mobility of both educators and learners and would presumably reduce transactional costs once the system had been developed.- gordon.suddaby gordon.suddaby Aug 30, 2010
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(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

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