Moving Closer To TOTAL Identity Managing
esearchers from Northumbria University are among a team of academics sharing in a £1.36million grant to examine future technologies of identity management.
Professor Pam Briggs, Dean of the School of Life Sciences at Northumbria, will be involved in the three-year IMPRINTS project which will be led by Professor Liesbet van Zoonen of Loughborough University, alongside colleagues from Dundee and Essex.
The project is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). An additional grant has been awarded by the Department of Homeland Security in America to the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory to simultaneously conduct the study in the US.
The Identity Management: Public Responses to Identity Technologies and Services (IMPRINTS) project aims to assess how and why the UK and US public will engage with particular future practices, services and technologies of identity management, while resisting others.
Iris and full-body scans and face or voice recognition have already become well-known practices, but innovations like implantable chips, odour scans, online ‘object’ passwords and mobile identity-sharing are on the horizon. It is unclear whether and why members of the public will embrace these innovations or reject them.
The Northumbria aspect of the project will involve sourcing futuristic scenarios from science fiction and academic literature and then developing stimuli to use with focus groups to trigger thinking around identity management.
Professor Briggs said: “I’ll be working with focus groups drawn from different populations, including young people, older adults and refugees, to talk to them about what ‘identity management’ means to them and we’ll be looking at inter-generational differences in what is acceptable and unacceptable in the ‘big brother’ world.