Can the re-use of identity data be a silver bullet for industry?

The ability to re-use identity data for individuals across different systems would greatly simplify authentication. Here's what it would take to make it happen.

The number of conferences that focus on digital identity has increased several-fold since I first became involved in the space. Yet at a recent conference, a colleague heard someone say, "...here we are, 20 years on, and we are still no further forward in creating a digital identity usable by all."

The elusive nature of the identity “silver-bullet” — how to make identity accessible for all and usable across a complicated ecosystem of stakeholders — continues to haunt the industry. Identity specialists the world over are talking at conferences, in meetings, on social media trying to pull together ideas on a solution.

But the problem continues. Why is digital identity still a hornet’s nest of interoperability issues and disparate systems?

What’s going on with the identity landscape?

The current identity landscape can be described as “fluid,” with many approaches across many different use cases. It really is a mixed bag of solutions. If an organization puts out a tender for an identity solution, they best make sure that their requirements list closely reflects what they want, as they will get a rainbow of options in response.

In a very general way, you can break down the identity landscape like this:

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