Individual Expert Member: David Rennie

Identity and Privacy Working Group Lead

David Rennie is an Individual Expert Member at the Digital Pound Foundation and leads the DPF’s Privacy and Identity Working Group. Previously a payments consultant David has spent the last 18 years working close to the UK’s oscillating debate on identity through the Identity Card Programme, James Crosby’s independent review, the Privacy and Consumer Advisory Group, the Open Identity Exchange and GOV.UK Verify. 

Payments and identity are like two sides of the same coin – to use an apt physical analogy. Of course, knowing the balance of your account is very important but you also need to know where it came from; who has paid you and who still owes you? If you are making a payment, are you paying the right person? How will you prove that you’ve already paid if someone asks for the money?

My career has been spent working in the fields of payments and identity. Up until 2005 I was working in the financial sector predominantly on payments related projects. I was asked by the Home Office to consider how the credit card sized ID card could be used in a point of sale terminal to verify a person’s identity. The focus very quickly moved to how and why the identity card would be used: which types of transaction would require government attested evidence of identity? How would the user experience work and, of course, what were the privacy implications?

The initial focus for the Home Office was face-to-face identity verification but the use of the internet was growing rapidly and everyone could see the need for a ‘digital identity infrastructure’ which the internet did not – and still does not have.

There are umpteen examples of how digital technologies have changed our behaviours, business models, expectations, etc. But two big subject areas where change is still to come, in my opinion, are with regard to money and identity. Both subjects are very emotive. Privacy is a very important aspect of each: how we design our infrastructures must reflect our right to a private life.

The Digital Pound Foundation was created by people who recognise the need to progress our thinking on the subject of Digital Currency as a society, openly and objectively. I hope that the Identity & Privacy Working Group will be able to articulate the privacy challenges that we face in the digitisation of money and develop a consensus on the solution approaches that have respect for privacy at their heart.

Connect with David Rennie on LinkedIn

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