It’s time to cheer up that India has now more than 99% of the adult population enrolled for Aadhaar, the unique digital identity of a citizen. This has laid the foundation for lot many opportunities and there would be many more to evolve.
In the era of Digital Society, uniquely identifying the elements that constitute it is very important. Not only from security point of view, but there even for fixing the responsibility in technology driven autonomous era. From legal standpoint, entering into a contract with robotized machines instead of humans also would require the unique identity against with a legal entity would be created for being able to not only execute but sign up the contracts.
Aadhaar implementation has already positioned the country advantageously where the human beings have already a unique, verified, secure and authenticated digital identity. Now, it’s time to think of non-humans! There are so many issuing authorities, primarily global, which assign a unique ID for a device. There would be for instance, GSMA issued IMEIs or the IEEE assigned MACs, used for the unique identification of devices that would primarily be there in a connected society. But, when it comes to legal enforcement and government regulations, even such standardised universally accepted identities don’t withstand the due diligence checklists and policy parameters. Adding to the complexity is a big question mark on the uniqueness of such numbers. For instance, IMEIs can be cloned and we have devices in the network with duplicate IMEIs.
With addition of all kinds of devices having cellular, Wi-Fi and may be satellite communications there ought to be many global agencies defining the unique identity of the device. This will add a lot of complexities while determining the responsibility for accountability and other purposes.
The government may then have to explore a mechanism where each device is assigned a unique identity, something similar on the pattern on Aaadhar, but then defining the uniqueness of the device would be challenging at the time of registration as no biometrics or fingerprints can be had of the device.
The point to convey is while implementation and process might be different, there would be a need to have a centralised mechanism of registering devices as well as humans in a digital connected society that would be unique, authenticated, verified and preferably in a generalised format. That would form the basis of defining the personality of the elements of a digital society consisting of people and the devices.