The Design of Trustworthy Things
With this years Identiverse just over a month away (and the deadline to get the draft of my talk this year swiftly approaching), I was reminded that I never got around to sharing video of the keynote I gave at last years conference. It was very kind and a tremendous vote of confidence in me from Andi Hindle to offer me the opportunity to take the keynote stage during an important transition year for the Identiverse conference. I took this chance to bring together a number of thoughts that had been rattling around in my brain based on the work I’ve been doing at Uniken in creating customer identity and security systems for deployment around the world, catering to a variety of verticals, consumer demographics, capabilities, and threat vectors. It coalesced nicely (I believe) into a talk about designing trustworthy systems.
Why did I feel compelled to focus on the topic of trust (and no, it’s not the ‘Zero Trust’ type of trust I’m talking about here)? It’s because there is very clearly a trust crisis permeating every aspect of our lives. In the world of identity, we saw it recently in the scams and frauds that permeated the NFT world, and in the swift backlash against the IRS’ plans to add face biometrics to its identity proofing flows. We see this crisis of trust all around us—and it has a significant impact on the world that we as identity professionals are responsible for. Trust is something that you earn, something that is given to you. We can’t build trust itself into a digital identity system. But we can, and we must, build systems which are worthy of trust.
In my talk, I attempted to tease out what it means to build trustworthy systems – demonstrating the meaningful ways in which digital identity technologies are woven into the fabric and architecture of such systems, and showing how such trustworthy systems may finally deliver on the promise of financial, social and technological inclusion, dignity and reliability. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive, for which I am tremendously grateful, and I hope you find it useful as well.
Here are links to a number of the resources I shared or referred to in my talk:
- Don Norman’s brilliant book on ‘The Design of Everyday Things’, which I highly recommend for all identity practitioners.
- A quick primer on Human Centered Design.
- Important work by Dr. Jessica Barker on how phishing simulations backfire and erode trust.
- The hugely important research and work by ‘Women in Identity’ being done to develop a global identity code of conduct, that I strongly urge every identity practitioner to follow and possibly get involved with.