Digital Identity: A Concept Beyond the Ethereal
November 16, 2017

By: Andre Boysen, CIO, SecureKey

Last week I had the amazing opportunity to learn from some of the most incredible experts in transforming digital identity at the IdentityNORTH conference in Vancouver. It was an honour to meet with leaders across a number of industries, and walk attendees down a discovery path towards building strong digital identity across the economy.

Today, proving digital identity can be a pain, as it typically requires consumers to give up significant personal information. At the last IdentityNORTH in June, we discussed the way in which consumers could create their own digital identity in a few minutes by leveraging credentials from trusted providers, such as the banks and tecos. Last week, we showed what can be done with that digital identity. Digital identity at work across the economy.

I was joined by Steve Southin, chief executive officer, Discovery Loft; Patrick Drolet, vice president, operations and product strategy, Notarius; Eric Lemieux, chairperson and managing partner, Levio; Sam Vassa, chief executive officer, Payments Evolution; Jim Skipper, assistant vice president, chief architect, Sunlife; and Richard Switzer, senior strategist, TWG. We discussed the numerous benefits a consumer will reap if given reliable and trustworthy digital identity, as well as the economic benefits to business through better business assurance, lower breach profile and better customer adoption.

Digital identity is solving real life issues for Canadians. Throughout the presentations, we heard about a number of examples that would improve the lives of consumers, including buying a car at the dealership, ordering online products that strictly require validating age (such as marijuana) or when a consumer gets a new job and needs access to payroll and employment benefits such as life insurance.

These were all eye-opening examples of how digital identity is solving real-life issues for Canadians. But one example that stood out from the rest was how to deal with transactions that can only be completed on paper and in person – and how the current stage of building a strong digital identity ecosystem will benefit Canadians who have been victims of identity theft.

In a recent example that has been cited in the media and that came to light during our IdentityNORTH presentation, it was reported that Mississauga’s Lukrezia Buzanic has spent eight years fighting a legal battle after falling victim to a mortgage fraud in 2009 – leaving her stuck with a $640,000 bank lien on her home. This was able to happen because the crooks only needed to know her information to impersonate her.

Like Lukrezia, there are thousands of Canadians who have been affected by identity theft – with the number of victims increasing daily.

In 2008, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) reported there were 12,309 victims of identity fraud in Canada, with a total reported loss of close to $9.7 billion. In 2012, there were 17,009 incidents and nearly $16 billion in losses. Halfway through 2014 — the last period for which there are statistics — the CAFC had documented over 10,000 victims and $4.7 billion in losses.

So, how are we going to shut the sock puppet crooks down? It’s simple: digital identity. And more specifically, using information that comes from a plurality of reliable and trustworthy sources, information that cannot be edited other than by those reliable sources and information that can only be presented by the person it belongs to.

With the strong commitment to protect the identity of Canadians and with the purpose to decrease costs for governments, consumers and businesses, while improving service delivery and driving GDP growth, SecureKey – supported by strategic partners –  is orchestrating the development of a robust, secure, scalable and privacy-enhancing digital identity ecosystem.

Stay tuned for this digital identity revolution, which will launch in early 2018.

Weren’t able to make it out to IdentityNORTH Western Forum? Don’t worry, we caught it all on video. Watch the video of digital identity in action below:

We want to recognize and thank all of our partners for their innovations and insights on how to make digital identity work across the economy.

Steve Southin – Discovery Loft – with their solution to do mobile-based car loan applications / approvals. Giving power and information when negotiating a new car loan.

Patrick Drolet – Notarius – showed how their digital signature solutions work for millions of transactions online today. Completing legal transactions online with greater integrity than the current process of sign & scan.

Eric Lemieux – Levio – demonstrated how they’re helping FIs and government with strong authentication to provide support for risky situations like enabling home delivery of alcohol or marijuana. With some products age matters, so enabling online delivery really requires process integrity.

Sam Vassa – Payment Evolution – showcased how they have been able to transform their salary enrollment process into a broader HR-onboarding process, saving time and generating better employer/employee results. This is great way to empower employees to onboard quickly and easily manage their employee benefits or update their banking information.

Jim Skipper – Sunlife Financial demoed a fast-track life insurance enrollment using digital ID that is compliant with the burdens of regulation. Faster onboarding for customers, lower effort for the field teams, more accurate identity information and lower breach risks – wow!

Richard Switzer – TWG – showcased their solution for authenticating a customer on a phone call. This is a break out use case – there is no way to complete high assurance registrations at any call centre today, and the oral interrogation for authentication is a pain point for customers and costly for business.