Digitalising security


On Wednesday 28th November, the European Leadership Network (ELN) and Salamanca Group co-hosted the latest breakfast briefing part of the Strategic Insight series on “Digitising security and personal data.”

The event was chaired by Des Browne, Chair of the ELN board and former Defence Minister, introduced the discussion before passing over to key note speakers: John Vine, former Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration at the Home Office. He spoke alongside Alistair Treharne; who is currently an Identity Advisor to the World Bank and the UK Government.

The speakers guided guests through the risks and barriers faced by governments and the private sector with digitalising our security. Despite personal identity becoming a new pillar of democracy, it was acknowledged that the notion and implications of ‘identity’ are rarely discussed within the UK, some guests citing cultural reasons.

John Vine opened the discussion, speaking on border, immigration and law enforcement, before Alistair Treharne shared concerns about traditional methods of onboarding data, and the problems we share moving forward.

Both speakers highlighted concerns with the level of investment in physical and IT infrastructure, and poor advances in using digital capabilities for onboarding information thus rendering processes slow and expensive.

It was stressed that changes to the framework must be collaborative; government, private and charitable sectors.  In addition, the fundamentals would need addressing, in particular trust in a model of assurance for onboarding information, and the ownership and management of the distributor ledger.  The speakers moved on to discuss distribution solutions including the possibility of using blockchain.

Both speakers and guests concluded by discussing what the future model may look like. Decentralizing personal identification processes and giving the citizen more power of their own data were identified.

Other countries are far more advanced than the UK. For example, India’s Aadhaar system has already issued 1 billion digital ID’s, enabling economic growth from citizens in regions who were previously denied entry to such markets. They’ve created programme where social inclusion in just one of the net benefits. Other examples can be seen in Dubai, Australia and the EU are working on an initiative at the present.

The next Strategic Insight breakfast will be held in January 2019. If you are interested in attending, please contact