The Lanyard Project

How do you prove who you are online?

When you use an electronic system that requires you to identify yourself in some way, you are using your digital identity. A digital identity is an electronic representation of a person online. This may constitute personal information, such as a person's name, address, or date of birth. It may also comprise electronic versions of identity documents like passports. Social media profiles (such as Facebook), email accounts, and blogs are also part of a person's digital identity. In other words, a digital identity is who you are online.

Secure digital identities

A secure digital identity is like a lanyard for your digital identity. It is a way of securely displaying your digital identity so that you can navigate electronic systems and prove you are who you say you are, without someone else being able to impersonate you. A real lanyard is secure because it is tied to your body. Similarly, a secure digital identity can be ‘tied’ to you by a password that only you know, your unique fingerprint, your voice, or your facial features. Just like a lanyard, a secure digital identity can be useful and convenient, but it creates the risk of identity fraud if someone else gains access to it.



In the Lanyard Project we are aiming to recruit older Australians as research participants to find out about their experiences with digital identity security. Digital identities, whether secured or not, are increasingly required to navigate essential services such as online banking and government assistance. However, the diverse requirements of older people are not well-represented in this process, as is true for technology design more broadly. We hope that by researching the perspectives of older Australians this can be at least partially rectified. In particular, we want to highlight the voices of those older people who generally don’t engage with electronic systems. It is important for decision-makers who implement secure digital identity systems to be aware of the issues these systems might cause for older Australians.

Want to get involved?

We are currently recruiting older Australians (65+) to complete a short pen-and-paper survey (10-15 minutes). This survey has questions relating to participants’ experiences of and attitudes towards digital identity security. The results of these surveys will be distributed via an industry report and research publications.

We are also recruiting participants for interviews (30 minutes) so we can find out more about their unique personal experiences. These interviews will be analysed by the research team and distributed along with the survey results.

If you or someone you know is interested in being a participant in the Lanyard Project, please contact Dr. William (Bill) Bingley:

  • Phone: +61 411 715 062
  • Email:
  • Mail: The University of Queensland, St Lucia 4072, QLD, care of Professor Janet Wiles

We are particularly interested in recruiting participants who would not normally participate in online surveys, as we want to investigate whether older Australians who use less digital technology have the same or different experiences and attitudes to other older Australians.

More information about these studies:

  • We will be recruiting participants until the 30th of November 2023.
  • Some examples of the kinds of questions in the survey are: ‘How do you feel about using technology that uses your fingerprints, facial features, or voice to prove your identity?’ and ‘Do you have an active social media account (e.g., Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp, email)?’
  • Some examples of the kinds of questions in the interview are: ‘Can you think of an incident when you were asked to prove your identity? That is, prove you are who you say you are?’ and ‘What information is available about you online?’
  • If you would prefer to complete the survey online, it can be accessed by visiting the following website:
  • The UQ human research ethics number for this research is: 2023/HE000206

Project members

If you would like more information about the project, or you are interested in collaborating with us, please get in touch:


ITEE Academic and Research Staff

Dr William Bingley

Postdoctoral Research Fellow
School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Professor Janet Wiles

School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Professor Ryan Ko

Chair & Director - Cyber Security & Chair & Director - Cyber Security
School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Dr Alina Bialkowski

Lecturer & Lecturer in Computer Science
School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science