Gates are opening for digital identity

Special to Times of Oman

Imagine a world where people are recognised through numbers, keeping their names and surnames aside. Imagine a world where switching on a mere number would enable one to know the entire life story of another person.

And we are not talking about any science fiction situation here. What we are painting here is near future scenario when people across five oceans would be having digital identity, cutting across nations, religions and races. And that process has started in a small but very significant manner.

Social media industry giant Facebook has bought whatsapp for a whopping deal of $19 billion and this very business negotiation has opened  the gate for this immense possibilities.

Before answering the riddle, let us know the real significance of Facebook and Whatsapp first to fathom the true value of the deal. In other words let us first delve into the astonishing world of social media.

By end of 2011 combined registered users of Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+, My Space & others were 1,440 million. In other words nowadays nearly one fourth of global population are interacting among themselves on virtual communication plane and this produces enormous amount of data unprecedented in entire human history.

Two billion videos are uploaded every day in You tube alone. Ten billion photos are put up in Facebook  per day.

And riding on mobile revolution this figure would go northward only! In nutshell gigantic size of data is generated on virtual plane and people  are getting located by their social networking sites.

In various countries including the USA, Sweden social security numbers hold some sort of identity for them. India is building her own Adhaar Card scheme.

Pundits argue that those days are not far off when social media would also be another badge of identity for them as these formats provide rich, diverse all round information about them. People would be duly recognised by unique social media alpha numeric  code.

And Facebook could be playing leading role to it.

Whatapp, a 2009 Mountain view, California startup renders data service on mobile platform. Users can send text and picture anywhere in the world.

December 2013 statistics claimed that service of this tiny 55 employee company was used by as many as 400 million active users per month.

In other words, whatsapp has broken barriers of mobile service providers' domain.

Facebook has just added this utility to its arsenal to render edge. In black and white, the scope of Facebook just got widened. It is now understood that like Viber, whatsapp would be adding video
option as well.

The role played by Facebook and Twitter in the Egyptian revolution is now known world over. And the merger of Facebook and Whatsapp may be just furthering another  global revolution.

Remember one Indian television advertisement? In order to do away with caste system of a village, everybody there was recognised by their phone number.

To turn into true global village, earthlings may be tagged by their social media badges one day.

Are we moving towards the utopia we have always aspired to achieve? Well, may be. Egalitarianism now seems no more a distant dream but a possibility waiting round the street corner.

The author is a freelance writer who writes on technology.  All the views and opinions expressed in the article are solely those of the author and do not reflect those of Times of Oman.


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