The Dublin Digital Identity Project
For this week's podcast. We'll be discussing discussing the very interesting project called the Dublin Digital Identity Project and I'm very pleased to have doug McCullough chief information officer her for the city of Dublin in Ohio USA. Doug thank you for joining us today. Could you please give our listeners. Quick introduction on yourself sure so my name is Doug McCullough chief information officer for the city of Dublin Ohio. It is a small city really a suburb on the North West Corner of Columbus Ohio which is in the middle of the state I am a private sector guy and I may government guy. I've worked for four different state of Ohio agencies and two cities in the united estates and I really love municipalities into innovation into smart cities. I'm into smart ability obviously into blockchain. A it just really interested in sort of emerging technologies and how I can help public sector organizations integrate them into their daily operations Excellent excellent and I think also inside you're going to be able to share with our audience later in this podcast so straight off the bat as it has cost me here in Intra entre blocks. Could you please explain to our listeners. What is blockchain? And how does it work. Well I'm sure that many have gone before me and failed. I probably will fail as well and I take no credit for getting it right but I will say that I can tell you what it is to me and from my perspective because this is one of the most simple technologies while also being one of the most complex and I don't want to oversimplify it but you Kinda have to a small Description I see. blockchain obtain is a technology infrastructure innovation that combines existing technologies like databases peer to peer networks encryption distributed computing algorithms to form a different way of distributing compute data storage and data security so in its most basic form it works by recording pieces pieces of data into structures. We've taken to calling blocks. The definition of these structures is such that they exist within a chain in that if they do not not come after another block or not part of another block they by definition do not exist. This structural definition allows the existence of a block to carry certain certain cities simply by the fact that they exist in other words to bear Fi. The data of a block one needs to verify its position in a chain that contains other defined blocks each addition to this chain makes the entire structure more and more difficult to invalidating. But if you did and there is a press process process for invalidating a chain the fact that a change to this basic infrastructure would invalidate the whole further makes scenario more trustworthy so that certainly is over technical and quite possibly wrong But the important thing to me and from my perspective is that as an infrastructure it is superior to other databases databases networks or distributing distributed computing models for certain uses and the High find it to be superior for is data transactions injections not necessarily data storage but data transactions. What happened when where and with perfect while if this was was an incorrect or definition what correct one is so thank you so much for that it was it was really good definition? I'm GonNa will definitely always As he knows. So well you know. There are many different schools of thought when it comes to blockchain and different tribes who who liked to defend their view of it right so so could you tell us a little bit about the city of Dublin and just in our Irish listeners where referring here to the city of Dublin in Ohio USA. Not Dublin. Orlands so I love to hear more about your lovely city. There are folks in Ohio. We know Dublin wealth and the rest of the world who have heard about it but for a lot of the world people people are like. I don't know what you're talking about. Here's a bunch of Dublin's in the United States as well But as I said we're a small community of around fifty thousand and up apply. Some years ago started along the path towards innovation through fiber optics in developing one of the first publicly-owned city owned fiber optic networks networks. And so we're kind of a techno-centric kind of a place that has embraced using technology to advance its economic development interests from air. We've been kind of a leader or innovator when it comes to smart cities up whether it be a sitting next to smart Columbus on being part of that same region or being being a part of the Intelligence Communities Forum in which we compete and go for awards where that is the city has an institute the Global Institute for the study the of the intelligence community to help share some of what we've learned about intelligent communities in smart city development and derive more from around the world and share those lessons since with other communities so we kind of want to be a conduit and in a light in showing how communities can use technology to improve the lives absorb their citizens. And that's kind of our brand at this point. I mean it's fascinating because you know just to remind him what the point is said of the city of fifty thousand people and you are quite forefront of developing new technology and. I'm sharing your best practice. What you've learned for me you know you sound very much like a city similar to Silicon Valley and also what is amazing because as it is a subject of our podcast that you've managed to develop a digital identity project based blockchain technology? Why how did your city managed to get to this point to be so tax heavy? Well well there are a few advantages and a few good moves some investments that the city of Dublin made that strategically placed us in a different position. So if there's there's any other cities out there listening you'll recognize some of this first of all. We did introduce me as a chief information officer. and honestly if you're not a very large arch city like a Boston or New York or Los Angeles or Atlanta or a London. You don't have a chief information officer you have an. It director director whose job it is to keep the technology running. Not necessarily to envision. What's next in what's new and so- Dublin Did that they invested in that in part because we're small there's less to run and there's a lot of innovation happening here in our region. We've got a great research institution Asian in in Ohio University and the Ohio State University. And there's just a lot of resources here that make it possible for us to do it. But if you're another city Anderson later saying it. We're not doing that it in part. It's because it's difficult for a city to hire someone in give them that job so hello. Dublin is benefiting from brilliant brilliant now so you've developed a digital identity project based on blockchain technology. What problem were you looking to address? This is interesting Because I WANNA put you in your listeners in the in the stance of considering what a city is we tend to look look at cities and say Stay in your lane plows. Snow Mow the grass. Fix The potholes and cut my taxes. And I'll be happy happy. And we don't think about all the various services and things that a city doesn't in has been doing but if cities do not innovate than we are going to be disrupted roughed it just like any other business. If he didn't think that the United States post office could be disrupted and of course. It is being disrupted because we always thought that we will deliver letters in boxes and Amazon changed all that you know taxes are being disrupted. Everybody's being disrupted cities can be disrupted and I think that that could be devastating for us. So it's my job to try and stay ahead of that and to continue to. Innovate we are candidates for innovation. Just like anybody else. I do believe that there's going to be a new distributed data environment just as the web changed to everything Blockchain the distributed data environment is going to change everything and we don't want to get caught off guard We were concerned about and remained concerned about preparing for kind of leaner government. government As it is now may not look the way. It is automation boxer. We're subject to impact by those as well. So what happens if we have far fewer people in a lot more automation. They're a how're we going to build the service model that serves people I mentioned you know sort of a digital disruption Russian of government just like anybody else right. Now I'm out in the Wilderness crying about this. Nobody believes it but I think we're going to see it happen Also mentioned sort of a declining in degrading trust in a sort of a more dangerous data privacy in firemen for people and we expect this to have but negative impact on citizens in public transactions. If we don't prepare for that Mrs all before thinking about blockchain as a potential solution But then also generally just as a person who uses technology I desire new level control or autonomy Regarding my data and I think that cities are local governments or even national governments can play a role in providing that security and privacy to citizens perhaps through some sort of a service but then finally there's a huge amount of pressure for cities to become smart cities to become programmable to use data to make decisions and I'm afraid that we're all gonna run into a big brick wall if we can't identify people or other private things that need to be identified in order to program around them We're all very excited about cars. Driving down the street being automated but if we don't have a mechanism for identity that's going to be a problem so should have government Create a new identity Regime I feel that blockchain gives a lot of control and privacy obviously back to citizens so that if we do need to program aspects of our lives that we would control of privacy back into citizens hands Eh.