- ^ Some recent attempts to improve identity assurance for online transactions have experimented with using a patchwork of identity providers to verify an individual, rather than relying on a central database. By proving that you are in possession of some private information that would only be known to you and your bank, say, they can then vouch for you when you interact with government online. These sorts of approaches have, however, not proved to be straightforward. Many people struggle to pass verification, particularly if their circumstances are complex, and more fundamentally this approach only shifts control to the new identity providers rather than to the individual.
- ^ Some people working in this field are thinking about how distributed ledger technologies like blockchain could be used to establish a trusted identity (sometimes called a “proof of existence”) that is entirely independent of public identity infrastructure. This will be particularly relevant in countries where people do not routinely have access to official identity documents. The approach usually relies on recording some baseline information and then relying on other individuals to verify these claims, in order to gradually build up a reliable picture of an individual’s attributes.