15 Apr 2011
March will forever be associated with Austin’s food trucks, working out of thinktiv and the experience that isSXSW, but alas life must go on. As we move (get it? we move?) into the second quarter of the year, it’s timely that I re-evaluate two of my goals this year: to continuously build my knowledge and network of the m4d space.
This has been the theme of my last month. I’ve been fortunate enough to have reached out to and had great conversations with leaders from MPower Labs, MPower Mobile and the GSMA Development Fund. In turn, I’ve also been reached out to by a leader from Movirtu. My real joy is to be able to “speak” m4d with each of the people I’ve been connected with. Nothing gets the gears working in my brain more than speaking to those leading the space. If anyone can suggest people in Toronto working in the m4d space, I’d love to connect with them also as I haven’t found too many (I’m going to attend the mobile stream of Net Change Week).
Coincidentally (or not), the topic of Mobile for Identity has been appearing more than usual in past weeks. For those familiar with Jan Chipchase’s TED talk, Mobile for Identity draws upon the notion of mobile numbers as our main identifier. I always retell the story of my first encounter with m4d as the chief who’s village did not have clean water but she herself and members of the community had cellphones. Mobile for Identity helps answer the question of why the purchase of a mobile phone can be prioritized over clean water. A mobile symbolizes empowerment. For those who do not have bank accounts or a fixed mailing address, a mobile provides not only uniqueness and the power to connect, communicate, learn and work. For those always wondering how the dispersion of mobile has in some developing countries surpassed the distribution of clean water or even shoes, this is the answer.
Of course, I see Mobile for Identity through a security lens. The threat of SIM duplication automatically comes to mind as SIM cards can be easily duplicated in East Africa. There are inherent security flaws within GSM, therefore if mobile is going to be a key identifier, how can we ensure that these identities can not be stolen, mimicked or reverse engineered? How are privacy laws and regulations required to change if personal, health and financial information will not only be transmitted but stored on mobiles? If this is the trend, then even greater is the need for Mobile Security. In terms of Mobile Security, three layers should always be considered to provide a holistic view: infrastructure, device and application.
All in all, I’m satisfied with my progression in this goal thus far, but still have quite a bit more work to put in to meet my year-end personal (you-all-know-what) goal. Thanks for reading.
PS. Ruby (and team), hope you enjoyed my Ruby-organized post =)
+ Movirtu is the best solution I can find, specializing and pioneering great work in Mobile Identity Management (MIM)
+ Mobile Identity Management Position Paper by the European Network and Information Security Agency