The complex world of data
Many people assume digital identity is the basic demographic and interest data collected and displayed by social media companies, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. Institutions gather far richer data-based insights than just this personal profiling data. Insights can be broken down into behavioural observations, like real time location and assumed relationships, rather than choices we consciously make or input, and algorithms make predictive decisions about you. Our digital footprint is pieced together to create a picture of who we are, what we like and how we'll behave, thus allowing for public and private institutions to financially benefit from or, in the case of Cambridge Analytica, manipulate individuals.
The Cambridge Analytica scandal showed how sophisticated algorithms based on digital footprints can influence the voting behaviour of millions of Americans -- demonstrating the use of data and digital identity to shape behaviours and enable bad actors to manipulate citizens.
As we move into more connected urban environments, digital identity is no longer primarily web-based. The data journey of a citizen in a smart city extends past their computers and phones. Data is collected through mobility, CCTV facial recognition, movement data, payment information, healthcare info from wearables, and many more.