Expect to hear a lot about “Global Goals” in the coming years. Why? Because last Friday, while most of the media scrambled to cover Boehner’s resignation and the Pope’s historic visit to Ground Zero, all 193 members of the United Nations General Assembly formally adopted something called the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, “along with a set of bold new Global Goals…hailed as a universal, integrated and transformative vision for a better world.”
By all accounts, the 2030 Agenda is a wildly ambitious campaign to eradicate poverty from the entire world over the next fifteen years.
Ending poverty is a noble endeavor. As a donor and past volunteer for our local homeless shelter, I deeply believe that human beings need to look out for each other and care for the poor.
One of the problems with poverty alleviation, especially in developing countries, is personal identification. If we don’t know they exist, we can’t help them, right?
So it makes sense that we should arrange some form of ID for these individuals. That’s why the UN’s 2030 Agenda includes plans to create and implement a global digital ID system through the World Bank, in partnership with Accenture.
“The ID4D program seeks to help countries provide identity for everyone, including birth registration, by 2030, with a focus on the poor and disadvantaged” (from Accenture’s publication, The World Bank: Creating World-Class Identity Management Systems for Developing Nations).
So what’s the problem?
Hacking. Hacking is the problem.
A worldwide digital identification system will place an unsustainable strain on our already overwhelmed cybersecurity infrastructure. To put it simply, we don’t have the workforce to handle it.
Experts predict our cybersecurity workforce will suffer a severe shortage in the coming years, and these predictions likely don’t account for a global digital ID system.
But here’s the good news: we have some time to prepare. Not a lot of time, but some.
Let’s get our kids coding in elementary school. Let’s encourage girls to pursue careers in tech. Let’s prepare our workforce for the UN’s global data revolution headed our way. And while we’re at it, let’s look into digital rights for our impoverished global citizens.
The poor and uneducated are most at risk for identity theft and cybercrime, because they don’t have the resources or knowledge to secure their data. So in fixing one global issue, we might be creating another.
Let’s act now in all facets of the tech industry to protect “the least of these” from widespread cybercrime, as we move our own families and companies toward the reality of a global digital identification system.