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Technology Alone Won’t Solve Digital Identity

In recent years, many valuable solutions to the global issue of identity have emerged. Providers of face recognition, mobile credentials, blockchain, behavioural biometrics, IAM and machine learning all offer the potential to establish digital identity, with greater certainty.

Financial Institutions and many other global businesses are implementing advanced solutions across their digital portfolios, to verify the identity of their customers accurately, seamlessly and in line with evolving regulation.

But technology alone cannot solve the issue of digital identity. Many of the hurdles of governance, borders and trust are yet to be overcome. Approaches to digital identity have been diverse, making harmonisation, standardisation and interoperability key to developing a future identity ecosystem.

For digital identity to grow, technical specifications, data protection, privacy laws and consumer expectations must be aligned. Innovation is key, but it will come down to standardisation and best practice to shape trust. Across the industry, the importance of laying out a robust ‘trust framework’, for identity has been increasingly appreciated.

Just this week, the UK government published its roadmap for the future of digital identities. This ‘trust framework’ lays out the principles, policies and standards governing the sharing of personal identity information. The aim is to “enable interoperability and increase public confidence.”

Of course, the feasibility of a digital identity system, will vary greatly between different countries. Current privacy and data laws, the existing centralized identity system a country is building on, as well as societal attitudes towards identity governance will all prove influential. As a result, we are seeing the roll out of digital identity systems around the world, with distinct designs, involving different institutions and with varying levels of adoption.

There has been a great deal of discussion around interoperability and compatibility in digital identity. Are there frameworks of mutual trust in place to allow cross border use of digital ID? Are systems governing an individual’s digital identity across different sectors compatible with one another? Can open frameworks for the exchange of identity data help to achieve this aim?

No less important is the interoperability of digital identity with other systems, policies and procedures in place at an organisation. A bank for example, would need to ensure compliance with all expected regulatory requirements, alongside implementing digital ID.

With so much left to determine, effective collaboration between financial institutions, government, technology, mobile operators and other industries is essential. Which global standards and principles will foster trust, compatibility and interoperability as we determine the path forward for digital identity?

Thia discussion was continued at FTT Identity on 17th March. Our panel ‘Standards, Policy and Open Frameworks for Success’ featured the following speakers:

  • Brad Carr, Managing Director, Digital Finance, Institute of International Finance
  • Viky Manaila, Digital Identity & PKI Expert, Cloud Signature Consortium
  • Don Cardinal, Managing Director, Financial Data Exchange
  • Manuela Sedvartaite, Innovation Manager, Banco Santander
  • Richard Maton, Advisor, International RegTech Association (moderator)

You can watch this session on-demand here