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 Copyright © 2012, IGI Global. Copying or distributing in print or electronic forms without written permission of IGI Global is prohibited. 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- Copyright © 2012, IGI Global. Copying or distributing in print or electronic forms without written permission of IGI Global is prohibited. 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 Copyright © 2012, IGI Global. Copying or distributing in print or electronic forms without written permission of IGI Global is prohibited. 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- Copyright © 2012, IGI Global. Copying or distributing in print or electronic forms without written permission of IGI Global is prohibited. 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 Copyright © 2012, IGI Global. Copying or distributing in print or electronic forms without written permission of IGI Global is prohibited. 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 & VarajÃ£o, 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). Copyright © 2012, IGI Global. Copying or distributing in print or electronic forms without written permission of IGI Global is prohibited. 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 Copyright © 2012, IGI Global. Copying or distributing in print or electronic forms without written permission of IGI Global is prohibited. 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- Copyright © 2012, IGI Global. Copying or distributing in print or electronic forms without written permission of IGI Global is prohibited. 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 Copyright © 2012, IGI Global. Copying or distributing in print or electronic forms without written permission of IGI Global is prohibited. 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 Copyright © 2012, IGI Global. Copying or distributing in print or electronic forms without written permission of IGI Global is prohibited. 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 erability. Proper digital authentication will allow companies to trawl safely throughout Al-Khouri, A. M. (2011). An innovative approach for the entirety of cyberspace to optimise their e-government transformation. 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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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