Digital Anthropology founder Richard Skellett spoke to the Daily Star around plans for corporate giants Microsoft and Mastercard to create ‘digital identities’ for consumers.

Richard warned of the potential for intimate online data to be misused, as this has now become a sellable asset that people should be wary who has access to.

He said: “Corporates see owning consumers’ data as a huge asset.

“Many governments around the world would like to have affordable ID tracking and some are implementing those today and who is funding it. It’s concerning that Microsoft and Mastercard could fund ID programmes on behalf of the UK government and others around the world on the basis of a secure ID sales pitch to consumers.”

With similar methods of trackable digital identities already being implemented in places such as India or China, Richard feels that the growing centralisation of data could have huge ramifications – but that consumers still hold the power, in that their data belongs to them and they should not feel pressured to accept

“Buying a car, house, birth, marriage, divorce, jobs changes, voting, behavioural habits. Those are all very private matters and why do we even need to share them for an on line transaction or security check. All we want is to transfer some money to receive some goods or services.”

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Richard Skellett stands on stairs, smiling