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City University London plays prominent role in Future of Identity Network of Excellence research

Academic forum explores the changing face of identity within a contemporary context.
by John Stevenson

City University London Reader in Information Security, Dr Muttukrishnan Rajarajan, is part of a multi-disciplinary consortium exploring the concept of identity within a modern context.

MobileThe Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (ESPRC) funded 'Future of Identity Network of Excellence', to which Dr Rajarajan belongs, brings together a unique grouping representing academia, industry and government, spanning a variety of disciplines, including computer science, law, sociology and psychology.

Their research activities have been motivated by key questions such as 'Who am I?', exploring the way individuals define and reveal their identity both online and offline.

This question also raises related issues of ethics and social responsibility. At a sociological level, the research also attempts to discuss the question of 'Who needs to know?'

Critically, this addresses issues of ownership, storage and use of information given that trust and privacy are pivotal both from the perspective of the individual and the service provider. Allied considerations of the ways in which legal regulations reflect sociological, anthropological and psychological thinking on identity are also examined. 

The Future of Identity Network of Excellence also investigates the extent to which technology can facilitate identity and identity management. With real threats to critical infrastructure from cyber terrorists, for instance, Dr Rajarajan is of the view that technological advances need to be focussed to identify insider threat, and to deliver trust and transparency to users, while enabling flexible authentication systems that are attuned to the security level of the information or service.

Dr Rajarajan believes that the Future of Identity Network of Excellence will have a strong impact on current thinking regarding identity:

"The Future of Identity Network represents a necessary and timely forum to explore the rich and provocative themes of identity within a modern context. Our findings will be of great value to a broad variety of stakeholders not just within academia but also from government and the private sector".

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