Editorial

The Digital ID Directory: WorldReach

‘Similar to the Financial industry’s Know Your Customer (KYC) process of a business identifying and verifying the identity of its clients for banking transactions, our version of that is a highly secure and user-friendly innovative identity verification process’

Posted 4 July 2019 by

Canada-based WorldReach Software Corp offers a number of Digital ID solutions. We recently sat down with the company’s UK Director, Jon Payne, to find out more.

The Digital ID Directory

Tell us about your company at the top level please, Mr Payne?

Created in 1998, and with a focus on consular assistance and crisis management, WorldReach has since broadened its scope and expertise to include travel, border and immigration management – and, notably, government-issued documents such as passports.

Essentially, WorldReach helps ensure traveller safety and security worldwide through its proven systems for government immigration, border management and consular organisations, and we have a successful track-record with both on premise and Software as a Service (SaaS)-enabling critical government systems. 

WorldReach supplies secure eID/Travel Document issuance, remote identity verification services and consular software, including best practices and the Know Your Traveller (KYT) innovative platform/processes. Similar to the Financial industry’s Know Your Customer (KYC) process of a business identifying and verifying the identity of its clients for banking transactions, our version of that is a highly secure and user-friendly innovative identity verification process for Electronic Travel Authorisation, eVisa, Visa, Registered Traveller Programs, online passport renewal, airport security facilitation programs and digital services delivery.

This common platform is the basis for our IdentityReach, VisaReach and PassportReach suite of products. Your readers will also be interested to know that in 2018 we won a multi-year, multi-million pound contract with the UK Home Office for the provision of a smartphone based digital enrollment capability supporting the EU Exit Settlement Scheme.

Great, thanks. So what is your value proposition – how do you specifically help a customer? What sort of problems do you tend to get called in to help with?

WorldReach’s experience positions it at the intersection of government-issued documents and citizen/passenger verification services. Specifically, WorldReach’s new Know Your Traveller (KYT) platform harnesses the power of the chip within passports and other smart identification cards by allowing remote identity verification. The identity verification is then secured instantly through facial recognition and a live-ness test.

This technology is revolutionising immigration and other government systems requiring identity verification for travellers or applicants for digital service delivery. With KYT, travellers/applicants no longer need to present themselves at a government facility in person or send their documents through the postal system, it can all be completed remotely. 

Do you have any named customers or case studies you could point us to to find out more?

Our remote identity verification service, IdentityReach, is, like I said, an integral part of the innovative EU Settlement Scheme operated by the UK Home Office, set up to allow EU nationals living in the UK to apply for settled status. IdentityReach allows applicants to establish their identity at the start of the application process and to tie that identity to their passport or national identity card, without the need to attend an in-person appointment or send their identity documents to the Home Office by post. The system is secured by reading the document chip via NFC, one-to-one facial matching and live-ness detection to prevent spoofing. 

The EU Settlement Scheme went fully live at the end of March 2019, following successful private beta-testing in 2018 and public beta testing in early 2019. And in May this year, the Home Office published a report on the outcomes of the public beta testing phase of the scheme; according to that report, more than 200,000 applications were made over a period of 68 days from nationals of all 27 EU member states and family members from over 120 non-EEA countries. According to Home Office statistics, 95% of applicants successfully used the EU Exit: ID Document Check app to establish their identity remotely – and 79% of applicants found the app very easy or fairly easy to use.

The report concluded that more than 600,000 applications had been submitted in total, including over 50,000 applications during the first weekend after the scheme went fully live. As of the end of June 2019, this number has reached over 850,000. Whilst the app was initially available on Android devices only, the Home Secretary has announced that it will be available on iOS devices before the end of 2019.

Ultimately, what is your Digital Identity story, in a sentence? 

Our Know Your Traveller service allows citizens to remotely provide proof of their identity to government service providers using facial recognition and live-ness detection to link the individual securely to their trusted, government-issued, internationally recognised identity document – all without needing to visit to a government office or mail documents. 

Do you have a particular public sector angle apart from your Home Office work you also want to highlight for us?

Passport authorities, including HMPO, have been issuing highly-secure, chipped identity documents, including passports and identity cards, for more than a decade. This affords significant opportunities for governments to securely provide digital services to citizens, streamlining the process, using their preferred method of interaction – their own smartphone. WorldReach enables this by unlocking the power and untapped potential of these secure ID documents.  

WorldReach is also interested in seeing what lessons and conclusions can be drawn from the UK’s GOV.Verify.  

Finally, if we come back in 12 months from now to refresh your profile in the Directory, what would you like to be able to say you’d achieved or progressed in the intervening time?

WorldReach aims to share new live use cases in both government and private sector where citizens/travellers/users can verify their Identity remotely without the inconvenience associated with visiting official sites or sending valuable identity documentation through the postal service. 

I’d also like to be able to say that we will further increase the level of identity assurance from remote identity verification through innovative new technologies.  

Thanks for your time, Mr Payne – and good luck!