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2012 - Emerging Markets and Digital Economy

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					                     International Journal of Innovation in the Digital Economy, 3(2), 57-69, April-June 2012 57




                      Emerging Markets and
                        Digital Economy:
                Building Trust in the Virtual World
                               Ali	M.	Al-Khouri,	Emirates	Identity	Authority,	UAE


ABSTRACT
This	article	provides	an	overview	of	the	literature	surrounding	emerging	markets	and	the	global	paradigm	
shift	taking	place	towards	the	development	of	digital	economies.	It	provides	a	review	of	recent	practices	in	the	
government	sector.	The	article	promotes	the	concept	of	developing	a	government	based	identity	management	
infrastructure	to	support	the	progress	en	route	for	building	the	digital	economy.	In	light	of	increasing	informa-
tion	security	threats	in	today’s	interconnected	world,	the	article	emphasizes	that	only	through	identification	
and	authentication	capabilities,	emerging	markets	can	maintain	sustainability.

Keywords:	         Emerging	 Markets,	 Digital	 Economy,	 Digital	 Identity,	 Government	 Sector,	 Identity	
                   Management




1. INTRODUCTION                                                             This defines the new order economy. The
                                                                       current mature markets are intricately integrated
The world today is witnessing a huge shift in                          with the emerging markets in trade. The global
the economic power with the hitherto niche                             integration is necessitated by a free flow infor-
countries taking center stage, pushing the main                        mation exchange and, in real time. Simply put,
players to the sidelines. The emerging markets                         there are no alternatives but to become “more
have positioned themselves as knowledge based                          digital” with whatever assets are available (EIU,
economies, working as the production houses                            2010). However, digital economy raises ques-
and back office service providers for the current                      tions of security, privacy and trust. Computer
mature markets. We cannot but take cognizance                          and network security present great challenges to
of countries like China, India, Brazil, Korea,                         our evolving information society and economy
Malaysia and Resurgent Russia upstaging Euro                           (Cybenko et al., 2002), as global business will
Bloc countries and the US with their explosive                         become ever more complex in the next three
growth figures. These emerging markets of                              years, with more suppliers, more customers,
today are fast set to become the main markets                          and more digital payments (EIU, 2010).
of tomorrow.                                                                Information networks aren’t the same as
                                                                       they were just a few years ago. The channels of
                                                                       information dissemination are just simply too
                                                                       many now to list for a discussion. Information
DOI: 10.4018/jide.2012040105


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58 International Journal of Innovation in the Digital Economy, 3(2), 57-69, April-June 2012


flows through broadcast channels, pod casts,                           business activity, which are also defining the
databases, telephone networks and now the                              world trade today and influence global invest-
converged channels of the Internet. The moot                           ment decisions.
point here is to determine “how do we ensure                                Among the emerging markets, some of the
that the right information is provided to the right                    nations have higher sustained growth rates than
person at the right time in the right manner to                        the rest; and they construct what is referred to
ensure right outcomes”. There is a clear need for                      as the big emerging markets (BEM). Four na-
a sound identity management and authentication                         tions are forming the foundation for emerging
strategy to support global business growth. This                       markets, namely; Brazil, Russia, India, and
article explores this critical area of practice. It                    China also referred to as the BRIC of the emerg-
provides an overview of the importance for                             ing markets. These countries have demon-
such infrastructure development to maintain                            strated a substantial domestic consumption
sustainability in emerging markets.                                    along with high exports, which altogether
      This article is structured as follows. The                       contributed to rapid core industrialization and
first section provides an overview of emerging                         the growth of the service industry. Countries
markets, what they stand for, and the key drivers                      of Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Tur-
behind their development. The second section                           key and South Africa are considered to form
sheds light on the striking feature of the emerg-                      the second bloc of emerging markets; also re-
ing markets that has characterized their growth                        ferred to as CIVETS.
and provides a conceptual overview of the term                              Emerging markets are changing the way
digital economy. The following two sections                            the world works by developing into global
discuss the challenge of securing information                          powerhouses. Holmes (2010) identified six key
networks and the need for a government based                           drivers for emerging markets and the effect they
identity management system to address trust                            have on the economic vitality in these markets.
requirements. This is followed by a discussion                         These are presented in Figure 2.
and reflection on key areas around the subject                              The literature indicates that BRIC countries
matter and the article is concluded.                                   together will yield more economic power than
                                                                       the G6 Nations by 2040 (Wilson & Purushotha-
                                                                       man, 2003). With scorching double digit growth
2. EMERGING MARKETS                                                    for the last few years, China will overtake the
                                                                       US shortly and according to analysts it is set to
Emerging markets is a term referred to the bloc
                                                                       become the world’s top economy in terms of
of countries that are setting a new world order in
                                                                       world trade by 2015. India is expected to push
economics. These countries have demonstrated
                                                                       the US further down to third place in a few
a high rate of industrialization and growth rates
                                                                       more years to claim the second spot. Many
in GDP and prominent increase in their busi-
                                                                       Asian countries will follow suit flexing their
nesses; be it commercial or social. In general,
                                                                       surge in growth to become major economic
about 40 nations across the globe make the
                                                                       powerhouses. Talking in numbers, world trade
cut. These are the countries that have a very
                                                                       is expected to reach 371 Trillion USD in 2050
high economic activity; akin to the advanced
                                                                       from the current 37 Trillion USD, with Asia
“developed” nations like the USA, UK, France,
                                                                       expected to take as much as 46 percent of this
Germany etc, but not quite there. Nonetheless,
                                                                       according to a recent report by Citigroup (Bu-
they are considered to wield big economic
                                                                       iter & Rahbari, 2011). See also Figure 3.
power. These countries spread across three
                                                                            This is consistent with the population
major continents as depicted in Figure 1. The
                                                                       growth expected in these countries and the
different shades of colour represent the strength
                                                                       continent. With nearly two thirds of the world
in economic activity. The red colour represents
                                                                       living in Asia, these countries are bound to
countries with larger economic growth and
                                                                       become major economic powerhouses, emerg-


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                     International Journal of Innovation in the Digital Economy, 3(2), 57-69, April-June 2012 59


Figure	1.	Emerging	markets	landscape




ing from their current fringe statuses. China,                         work reigned supreme, in the emergent new
India, Malaysia are already on this growth radar                       economy inspiring the passions of employees
as illustrated in Figure 3. A striking feature of                      to create and innovate is far more important
the emerging markets is the digital leap that has                      (Reference: Knowledge Economy).
characterized their growth. This is discussed                               We need to comprehend that the 21st cen-
next.                                                                  tury is digitally driven economy. The concept of
                                                                       a digital economy emerged in the last decade of
                                                                       the 20th century (Tapscott, 1998). Negroponte
3. THE DIGITAL LEAP                                                    (1996) argues that the fundamental distinction
                                                                       in the new economy is between “atoms” and
Technological advances and market demands
                                                                       “bits”. See also Table 1.
have made telecommunications and ICT
                                                                            He stated that the world had been based
products and systems increasingly complex
                                                                       on an economy of “atoms” (physical stuff that
and feature rich. This has enabled the develop-
                                                                       we dream up, manufacture, and distribute,
ment of the concept digital economy. Digital
                                                                       through a slow moving, “human handling”
economy is an economy based on electronic
                                                                       economy), whereas the future is about the “bits”
goods and services and formed by an electronic
                                                                       economy or digital economy which is “...in-
business models. In other words, it is referred
                                                                       stantaneous and inexpensive transfer of bits at
to the global network of economic and social
                                                                       the speed of light.” In other words, in this new
activities that are enabled by information and
                                                                       economy, digital networking and communica-
communications technologies, such as the
                                                                       tion infrastructures provide a global platform
internet and web technologies (Shaw, 2006;
                                                                       over which people and organizations devise
Tapscott, 1997).
                                                                       strategies, interact, communicate, collaborate
     The ever-increasing efficiency of technol-
                                                                       and search for information. Changes in today’s
ogy is changing the nature of work and therefore
                                                                       business and consumer marketplace strongly
economic value (Kelly, 2011). This to say that
                                                                       supports Negroponte’s proposition that digital
the economics today are utterly different. The
                                                                       bits are starting to become more valued than
fundamental difference is that, while in the old
                                                                       physical products made from atoms.
economy, promoting efficiency and organizing


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60 International Journal of Innovation in the Digital Economy, 3(2), 57-69, April-June 2012


Figure	2.	The	6	drivers	of	emerging	markets.	Source:	Holmes	(2010).




    In line with Negroponte’s proposition, and                         of Kondratiev. ICT is the technology that started
developing on the earlier work of Kondratiev                           this wave and it is causing a new paradigm shift.
(1925/1984) and Schumpeter (1942), Perez                                     As depicted in Figure 4, there is a very
(2002) defines the concept of “Techno-Eco-                             big difference with the earlier economic cycles
nomic Paradigm Shift” and explains how a new                           we have experienced. The other cycles (water,
technology lies at the base of every revolution:                       steam, steel and oil) were all focused on pro-
                                                                       ducing tangible resources. The outcome of the
“When	the	economy	is	shaken	by	a	powerful	                             ICT cycle is completely different. We are now
set	 of	 new	 opportunities	 with	 the	 emergence	                     producing intangible resources. This exempli-
of	 the	 next	 technological	 revolution,	 society	                    fies the shift from atoms to bits. The information
is	 still	 strongly	 wedded	 to	 the	 old	 paradigm	                   superhighway is about the global movement of
and	its	institutional	framework.	The	world	of	                         weightless bits at the speed of light.
computers,	flexible	production	and	the	internet	                             Indeed, repaid technology evolution has
has	a	different	logic	and	different	requirements	                      made digital economy a more viable alternative
from	those	that	facilitated	the	spread	of	the	au-                      to both individuals and corporations. Technol-
tomobile,	synthetic	materials,	mass	production	                        ogy has advanced in sync with industrial output.
and	the	highway	network.	Suddenly	in	relation	                         Higher industrial output meant higher produc-
to	 the	 new	 technologies,	 the	 old	 habits	 and	                    tivity and profitability needs. In manufacturing
regulations	become	obstacles,	the	old	services	                        terms, this has necessitated process optimization
and	infrastructures	are	found	wanting,	the	old	                        and therefore process automation. This was the
organisations	 and	 institutions	 inadequate.	 A	                      turning point for technology development in
new	context	must	be	created;	a	new	‘common	                            emerging markets. Driven by a strong domes-
sense’	must	emerge	and	propagate.”	                                    tic consumption, the emerging markets have
                                                                       turned to technology for improving their pro-
    Perez (2002) draws a line between the                              ductivity rates. Backed with a strong pool of
various technologies which have caused a great                         skilled human resources, technology invest-
impact on the economy. According to Perez                              ments thus became the order of the day for these
(2002) we are now experiencing the fifth wave                          nations. In fact, the emerging market nations
                                                                       skipped a whole generation of technology adop-


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                     International Journal of Innovation in the Digital Economy, 3(2), 57-69, April-June 2012 61


Figure	3.	Emerging	markets	economic	activity




Table	1.	Atoms	economy	vs.	bits	economy	

                                         Atoms Economy                                     Bits (Digital) Economy
 Distribution                            Slow                                              Instant
                                         Extensive                                         Free
                                         Labour intensive                                  Brain Intensive
 Based on                                Scarcity                                          Abundance
 Pricing                                 Inflationary                                      Deflationary
 Inventory                               Limited                                           Unlimited
 Created                                 Mass media advertising                            Relevancy/Targeted advertising
 Progress                                Incremental                                       Exponential
 Currency(s)                             Money                                             Money
                                                                                           Reputational currency
                                                                                           Attention currency
 Consumption                             Once                                              Unlimited (increasing returns on
                                                                                           consumption)
 Free                                    Ad supported                                      Ad supported
                                         Gimmick/Sample                                    Valid business model




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62 International Journal of Innovation in the Digital Economy, 3(2), 57-69, April-June 2012


Figure	4.	Kondratieff	waves




tion to adapt and adopt the latest in the indus-                            The explosive growth of internet and e-
trial, communication and information tech-                             commerce has taken Internet fraud to new levels
nologies to lead and drive their knowledge                             (Meulen, 2011; McNally, 2011). More and more
based economies.                                                       consumers are exposed to the risk of identity
      We are living in an information era, where                       theft (Stickley, 2008). The potential for fraud
societies around the world are becoming more                           is a major hurdle in the evolution and growth
and more information intensive. The reality is                         of online commerce (Cruz-Cunha & Varajão,
that we are living in a connected and united                           2010; Xu & Quaddus, 2010). The next two sec-
world were borders have disappeared on the in-                         tions discuss the issue of security and identity
formation and communication highways. Needs                            management in more detail.
of both advanced and emerging economies to
cut costs and responding to rapidly growing
industries and technology adoption, resulted in                        4. INFORMATION SECURITY:
an explosive growth in connectivity. See also                          THE CHALLENGE
Figures 5 and 6.
                                                                       Undeniably, information is a highly valued
      Looking at the submarine cable map in
                                                                       commodity to be protected and saved. Nations
Figure 6, it shows how dependent we are, as a
                                                                       need to protect their Intellectual Property Rights
planet, on each other. Never has technology
                                                                       (IPRs) in the digital world we live in (Gates,
and commerce united the nations as it is now.
                                                                       2000). As such, networks need to be secured.
However, in the digital world we live in, infor-
                                                                       In this age, information networks face severe
mation security is the most serious risk that
                                                                       potential threats. Technologies such as firewalls
needs to be addressed by both governments and
                                                                       provide protection at the network periphery to
private sectors. Such digital exchanges can
                                                                       secure internal systems from potential hacking
generate huge benefits for counterparties, but
                                                                       attempts. Intrusion detection and prevention
they also create a new breed of challenges and
                                                                       systems are increasingly being used to pro-
risks related to authenticating and certifying
                                                                       actively monitor and thwart attacks from the
business partners and transactions (EIU, 2007).



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                     International Journal of Innovation in the Digital Economy, 3(2), 57-69, April-June 2012 63


Figure	5.	1901-eastern-telegraph-world-cable-map	-	This	is	what	the	world’s	submarine	cable	
system	looked	like	in	1901	according	to	the	Eastern	Telegraph	Company




outside world. There is literally war out there!                       this be achieved? The answer is “identification”.
Stakes are at very high risk.                                          Identification is the key to information security.
      For all the security we accord and try to                        We need to identify the authorized individuals
provide, we can only do so much in protecting                          who can receive authorized information. This
our information. We can thwart the outsiders                           should be understood in the context of identity
and protect the insiders. What happens when                            management, as the next section elaborates on.
the threat is from internal trusted sources? It
has been proven beyond doubt that the biggest
threat to information security is from internal                        5. IDENTITY MANAGEMENT
“trusted” sources (Brancik, 2007; Contos, 2006;
                                                                       Consumers are drivers of the digital economy.
Probst et al., 2010).
                                                                       Identity in the physical world is expressed in
      It is so very easy to secure information by
                                                                       a variety of forms: driver’s licenses, passports,
simply locking it away and denying access to it
                                                                       and more. For online applications, however,
for everyone. But this does not serve the purpose
                                                                       identity typically boils down to a set of bits that
of business. Information is needed to transact
                                                                       are transmitted across the wire, and then used
and for decision making. But once again, in-
                                                                       by systems (Chappell, 2007). Being provided
formation in the hands of unauthorized people
                                                                       with the fast spreading and timely information
is treacherous. We need to secure information
                                                                       on the Internet and mobile devices, the digital
and yet make it available as needed.
                                                                       economy raises questions of security, privacy
      The concept is rather simple; only provide
                                                                       and trust (Laudon & Laudon, 2008; Turban et
information to authorized people or systems.
                                                                       al., 2007). In simple terms, network security
People who are determined as non-authorized
                                                                       is complemented by information security and
should not have the ability to access specified
                                                                       information security is achieved by identity
information. But in practical terms, how can


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64 International Journal of Innovation in the Digital Economy, 3(2), 57-69, April-June 2012


Figure	6.	Submarine	cable	map	(Image	via	Telegeography)




management. Identity, therefore, forms the basis                       networks such the internet (Al-Khouri, 2011;
of any transaction.                                                    Westland & Al-Khouri, 2010). Technological
     Absorbing the needs of the future, govern-                        advances in the field of biometrics have pro-
ments in emerging markets have realized the                            vided the ability to verify identities, validate
need to put in place an infrastructure that can run                    credentials and allow authorized transactions
synonymously with their hi-tech development                            in real time. Biometrics, coupled with public
requirements. Many countries in the emerging                           key infrastructure (PKI) technology, form a
markets have begun to launching digital identi-                        unique personal identification profile. Issued by
fication programs to provide digital credentials                       the government, such identity profiles become
to their population. South Korea, Malaysia and                         legally binding. The use of smart cards is seen
India are shining examples of the emerging na-                         as an enabler for electronic identification and
tions on the digital fast lane. Belgium, France,                       provides the basis for identity validation for
USA, Singapore have their share of success to                          real time verifiability (Al-Khouri, 2011). See
share on the digital identity to their residents.                      also Figure 7. With such technologies, trust is
In general, the emerging market nations are                            established remotely between the information
catching up fast on issuing digital identities to                      seeker and the information provider; making
their population.                                                      the information exchange very secure.
     The digital identity provided by gov-                                  Figure 8 depicts a generic framework for
ernments is becoming a reference point for                             applications of digital identities. Governments
personal identification providing the ability to                       as a trusted source, issue national identity to
electronically identify individuals over virtual                       their population. Such national identity estab-



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                     International Journal of Innovation in the Digital Economy, 3(2), 57-69, April-June 2012 65


Figure	7.	Multiple	factor	authentication




lishes a legally accepted and binding identity                         private sector rather evenly. See also Figure 9.
of an individual that can be verified physically                       The role of the government here, besides other
on site, or remotely over the internet. Authen-                        responsibilities, is to lay down an identity man-
tication mechanisms accorded by multiple                               agement infrastructure through which trust can
factors such biometric, PIN and digital signa-                         be established between the different entities.
tures allows secure transactions to take place.                             In addition, it is important to note that a
The framework basically encompasses a ge-                              common feature of both electronic business
neric identity management model, where an                              processes and electronic commerce transactions
identity profile is established, and can be used                       is reliance on the use of computer-mediated
for audit trails and tracking purposes. The multi                      networks. The reliance on the use of computer
factor authentication capabilities ultimately                          networks, and the benefits they can provide, is
provide authorization to either physical or                            the “bottom line” difference between elec-
logical access.                                                        tronic and other kinds of business.
                                                                            We should talk about entity	identification in
                                                                       the same breath as network security and informa-
6. DISCUSSION                                                          tion security. Never has been identification so
                                                                       intricately associated with information security
It is useful to think of the digital economy as
                                                                       as it is in the present context of information
having three primary components; supporting
                                                                       dissemination.
infrastructure, electronic business processes
                                                                            Conventional wisdom has dictated the
(how business is conducted), and electronic
                                                                       design and implementation of well proven
commerce transactions (selling of goods and
                                                                       technologies for protecting the networks from
services online) (Mesenbourg, 2000). The focus
                                                                       external threats like viruses, malware, hack-
in practice has been on the process and much
                                                                       ing etc. Network Peripheral Protection has
on the transactional sphere, but little attention
                                                                       now evolved from conventional firewalls to
was given to infrastructure development.
                                                                       intrusion detection to the current intrusion
      We very much emphasise on the role of
                                                                       prevention systems. The trend is increasingly
governments to support the development of
                                                                       moving to deploying unified threat detection
their own economies. The private sector alone
                                                                       and prevention systems that combine network
cannot address the challenges related to identity
                                                                       access policies, signature detection, and packet
management. The contemporary economic
                                                                       inspection with proactive monitoring of traffic
systems are pushing governments to share
                                                                       from the external sources on the network.
economy development responsibilities with the



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66 International Journal of Innovation in the Digital Economy, 3(2), 57-69, April-June 2012


Figure	8.	The	digital	identity	paradigm




     While these technologies and measures                             passwords. This brings us to the all-important
provide a good degree of protection from ex-                           topic on management of identity.
ternal threats, and as we stated earlier that the                           Face to face, people have always shared
biggest threat to information security comes                           information based on their personal mutual
from internal sources. This has led to develop-                        trust. This has always been the case with the
ment in technologies providing logical protec-                         digital leap economies. Now with the current
tion for information. Information sources need                         network technologies enabling anywhere and
protection from unauthorized accesses apart                            anytime connectivity, information sharing is
from secure storage.                                                   more remote than in person. The challenges
     The critical parameter in sharing and shor-                       have compounded thus in establishing trust
ing of information is trust or rather lack of it. The                  between entities who are more often than not
risk associated with this threat gets accentuated                      in asynchronous mode of sharing.
by the perception of the breach of trust. Many                              The challenges in identity management
breaches have occurred by unwitting highly trust                       are by no means small. It needs commitment,
worthy entities dropping their access codes or                         political will, investments in technological


Figure	9.	Economic	system	models




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                     International Journal of Innovation in the Digital Economy, 3(2), 57-69, April-June 2012 67


infrastructure and seamless network connec-                            their countries’ borders. Security in the infor-
tivity (Bertino & Takahashi, 2010; Annunzio,                           mation dissemination goes beyond securing the
2007; Williamson et al., 2009). The examples                           networks from external threats. Information
of governments, who initiated digital identity                         security is achieved mainly by managing trust
programs, are likely to yield impressive results                       between the different stakeholders.
in the days to come. But this is subject to mul-                            Governments have begun to realize that
tiple other factors related to the clarity of the                      in modern days, our digital identity is perhaps
vision and the solidity of the path and the plans.                     becoming just as important as our physical one.
     It is worth clarifying that providing a digital                   This article attempted to outline that in order
identity goes much beyond an identification                            to enhance the benefits of digital economy,
number and a record in the national popula-                            countries will require maintaining a secure
tion register. The identity issuer stands for                          environment for transactions, in which con-
identity issuance, identity validation, identity                       sumers have trust. The article argued that trust
verification and identity validation. An identity                      management is achieved by the development of
profile typically consists of a person’s personal                      a government based digital identity management
unique data including biometric data. The digital                      infrastructure, and that two major technologies;
identity consists of a digital certificate issued                      PKI technology and biometric technology are
from a public key infrastructure (PKI) and                             likely to play a vital role in such developments.
a set of electronic biometric data. Together                                Such national government infrastructure
these characteristics provide irrefutable and                          should support the growth of country’s digital
more importantly verifiable data for personal                          economy into the future in terms of jobs and
identification, and, on demand. With the help of                       employment, health, education, the environ-
such digital identity framework, trust is estab-                       ment, social inclusion and recreation. We cannot
lished remotely between the information seeker                         much emphasise that pursing digital economy
and the information provider, thus making the                          has the potential to boost country’s productivity,
information exchange very secure.                                      global competitiveness and social well-being.
     In short, identification and authentication                       It provides opportunities to improve access to
are seen as the drivers for business growth.                           services and once again form better economic,
Global business is expected to become ever                             education, health, social and environmental
more complex, and a robust identity trust                              outcomes.
infrastructure that enables the authentication
of counterparties identities is imperative. This
should be extended to support global interop-                          REFERENCES
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Ali	M.	Al-Khouri	is	the	Director	General	(Under	Secretary)	of	Emirates	Identity	Authority;	a	
federal	government	organisation	established	in	2004	to	rollout	and	manage	the	national	identity	
management	infrastructure	program	in	the	United	Arab	Emirates.	He	has	been	involved	in	the	
UAE	national	identity	card	since	its	early	conceptual	phases	during	his	work	with	the	Ministry	
of	Interior.	He	has	also	been	involved	in	many	other	strategic	government	initiatives	in	the	past	
22	years	of	his	experience	in	the	government	sector.	He	holds	an	engineering	doctorate	degree	
in	 strategic	 and	 large	 scale	 programs	 management	 from	 Warwick	 University,	 UK;	 Masters	
Degree	(MSc)	in	Information	Management	from	Lancaster	University,	UK;	and	a	Bachelors	
Degree	(BSc,	Hons.)	from	Manchester	University,	UK.	He	is	also	a	member	in	several	academic	
and	professional	institutions.	He	is	an	active	researcher	in	the	field	of	advanced	technologies	
implementation	 in	 government	 sector,	 and	 the	 approaches	 to	 reinventing	 governments	 and	
revolutionising	public	sector	services	and	electronic	business.	He	has	published	more	than	50	
research	articles	in	various	areas	of	applications	in	the	past	10	years.




Copyright © 2012, IGI Global. Copying or distributing in print or electronic forms without written permission of IGI Global is prohibited.

				
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