Identity theft and societal acceptability of electronic identity in Europe and in the United States

This paper addresses critical questions surrounding the security of government-issued identity documents and their potential misuse, with an emphasis on understanding the perspectives of ordinary citizens across Europe and the United States of America. Drawing upon research on technology acceptance and diffusion, the research focuses on understanding the factors that influence users’ adoption of novel identity management solutions. Our methodology includes a comprehensive, census-representative survey spanning citizens from France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the USA.

The paper’s findings underscore a robust confidence in government-issued identity documents, contrasted by a lower trust in private sector services, including social media platforms and email accounts. The adoption of artificial intelligence for identity verification remains contested, with a significant percentage of respondents undecided, indicating a need for explicit explanation and transparency about its implementation and related risks. Public sentiment leans towards acceptance of government data collection for identification purposes; however, the sharing of this data with private entities elicits more apprehension.