Dr Ana Beduschi: Rethinking digital identity for post-COVID-19 societies

Dr Ana Beduschi published a new article titled ‘Rethinking digital identity for post-COVID-19 societies: Data privacy and human rights considerations’. The article was published by Data & Policy, an interdisciplinary peer-reviewed journal (Cambridge University Press).

The article argues that a potentially positive outcome of the current pandemic could be the development of a more data privacy and human rights compliant framework for digital identity. The COVID-19 pandemic has indeed exposed the need for more contactless interactions leading to an acceleration in the design, development, and deployment of digital identity tools and contact-free solutions.

However, Dr Beduschu argues that for such a framework to thrive, two essential conditions must be met: (1) respect for and protection of data privacy irrespective of the type of architecture or technology chosen and (2) consideration of the broader impacts that digital identity can have on individuals’ human rights.

The article draws on legal, technology-facing, and policy-oriented academic literature to evaluate each of these conditions. It then proposes two ways to leverage the process of digitalisation strengthened by the pandemic: a data privacy-centric and a human rights-based approach to digital identity solutions fit for post-COVID-19 societies.

This work resulted from a project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council as part of UK Research & Innovation’s rapid response to COVID-10 (project title: COVID-19 Human Rights Implications of Digital Certificates for Health Status Verification; number ES/V004980/1). The views and opinions expressed in the article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the ESRC, the UKRI or the University of Exeter.