Managing Digital Identities - from Contact Tracing in the Crisis to Future Virtual Passports


Digital identity will be key to many future services in the digital, but also in the physical “real” world. Not only well-known messaging and social network services require a notion of a person’s identity at their core – opening doors with electronic locks, using public transport, opening a bank account, or manifold manufacturing processes all rely on some digital attributes to perform an action. The COVID-19 pandemic highlights that required or useful attributes for a specific use case can be highly diverse: while it is important if two persons have been in close proximity to each other and may have passed on an infection, the absolute location where this contact occurred and at which time of the day is irrelevant. On the other hand, both absolute location history and relative contact with other people can be highly sensitive from a privacy – and even safety – point of view. An interesting and pressing question is what we can learn from dealing with the current crisis for future uses of digital identity, including virtual passports and other government-issued documents. How can we balance usability, security, and privacy requirements of digital identity?

Regional Leaders Summit 2020 Keynote
virtual (Linz, AT)
René Mayrhofer
Professor of Networks and Security & Director of Engineering at Android Platform Security; pacifist, privacy fan, recovering hypocrite; generally here to question and learn