Our digital age lends new twists to an eternal question: Who decides who you are?

Which part of you gets presented to the world around you? Are the names you use with friends, and online, and on your driver’s license, different? What would you do if your identity was stolen? And what happens when things get more complicated–like if you’re a refugee escaping conflict, and can’t prove your identity? What if your only hope of rising out of poverty rests on an ID card that you can’t get? Do we control our own identities, or are they increasingly determined by the state, or by multinational corporations?

Writer Padmaparna Ghosh takes us on a journey around the world, examining some of these questions.

An ID card.

Prologue: Introduction

Today’s identity issues are often framed in binary terms–but reality isn’t so black and white

A pile of ID cards.

Prologue: Reading List

Things to read, listen to, and watch to delve deeper into identity systems

A grid of faces. Some are merged with computer screens.

Episode 1: What Is It Like to Live in the World’s Biggest Experiment in Biometric Identity?

A billion people are part of the world’s largest experiment in biometric identity–but many are falling through the cracks

A grid of faces. Some are being stolen or warped in some way.

Episode 2: As We Build the Digital ID Systems of the Future, Where Does Privacy Fit In?

As governments around the world bring identity systems online, data privacy is more important than ever

A grid of the same face in a range of different work uniforms.

Episode 3: In an Era of Changing Work, How Will Your Job Define Who You Are?

If your life and your community are defined by a specific industry, what happens when it disappears?

A grid of faces of people in different conflict situations, or behind fences.

Episode 4: Refugees Are Asked to “Integrate”–But Do Those Asking Know What That Means?

How do refugees establish a new sense of identity when their host countries are determined to keep them in limbo?

A grid of faces with speech bubbles.

Episode 5: Can Language Save Communities Under Threat From a Globalized World?

How can people fight back when their language and culture is under assault from the modern world?

A grid of faces taken from all the other grids before this point.

Conclusion: Talking Identity

We bring The ID Question to a close, and assess identity in the modern age

A large grid of small passport-style pictures.

Watch: How an ID System Can Make Your Life Harder

A series of short animated videos that take you through the experiences of people using ID in India

How We Get To Next was a magazine that explored the future of science, technology, and culture from 2014 to 2019.