Editorial

Digital Identity: Global Roundup

Digital identity news from around the world

Posted 26 April 2021 by

Belgium

Belgian digital identity app itsme has selected iProov’s biometric face verification with Genuine Presence Assurance technology to support its global expansion plans.

Itsme reached a million transactions per month back in mid-2018, supported by what is now Thales mobile authentication solution. Consumers in the Netherlands can now use itsme, completing an eIDAS-compliant onboarding process with iProov’s biometric authentication from any mobile device, as per Biometric Update.

“We needed a technology partner to support our mission to make secure digital identities available to everyone. iProov was the obvious choice. They hold privacy and security in the highest regard and offer the future-proof, cutting-edge technology that will enable us to identify users internationally,” said itsme CEO Stephanie De Bruyne.

More than 35 percent of Belgians use itsme to interact with over 150 private companies and the Belgian government.

France

Boku and French mobile services providers SFR, Orange and Bouygues Telecom are to launch mobile identity products aimed at protecting consumers against cyberattacks and other forms of digital fraud.

Boku’s Digital Identity Proofing solution will match mobile subscribers account registration details to new account registration information to ensure that new accounts are being created by the person, and not a fraudster. The Phone Number Verification (Authentication) solution will verify mobile number possession directly on the device by using its built-in connectivity to the mobile operators’ wireless network.

Boku will also be able to provide signals around changes to the SIM card, phone number changes and reassigned numbers to further curb various common tactics of fraudsters.

United States

Rules for minimum technical requirements and security standards for mobile driver’s licences (mDLs) in the US are on the way.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Strategy, Policy and Plans and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) have published a request for information (RFI) to the Federal Register in preparation for “an upcoming rulemaking” to regulate mDLs under the REAL ID Act. The RFI notes that states are moving ahead with pilots of mDLs, and that public interest is high.

REAL ID-compliant mDLs could be stored on any portable device with digital memory, are likely to include QR codes, and may use public key infrastructure (PKI) for offline transactions, according to the document. Unattended online verification is an area the agencies are seeking information on, while attended verification will likely be subject to ISO/IEC 18013-5, currently a draft standard.

South Africa

South Africa’s Lawtrust has been acquired by Altron to integrate its digital signature, data encryption and biometric technologies into the latter’s ‘one stop shop’ for digital transformation and information security.

Altron is paying Lawtrust parent company Etion 245 million Rand (approximately US$17.2 million) under the agreement. Lawtrust has more than 500 customers in the public and private sector, according to the announcement.

Altron Group Chief Executive Mteto Nyati noted the acquisition builds in its 2019 addition of digital identity management firm Ubusha Technologies.

“Security is one of our key growth areas, in addition to Cloud, Data and Automation. What differentiates Lawtrust is the level of intellectual property they own and an annuity base of 70 percent. These are key characteristics of the Altron 2.0 strategy,” says Nyati.

The deal is pending regulatory approval.

United States

Copper River IT has selected Jumio’s face biometrics and digital KYC capabilities to enhance its network and systems engineering solutions and enterprise support services for the public and education sectors.

The companies will collaborate to deliver online identity verification services to help customers optimise online conversions, deter fraud, and meet requirements for data privacy, know your customer (KYC) and anti-money-laundering (AML) regulations within a digital banking experience, according to the announcement.

Jumio’s KYX Platform and biometric verification capabilities can be deployed by Copper River to help expedite digital transformation at state, local and education (SLED) organizations, reduce fraud associated with legacy authentication practices, and develop digital identity proofing solutions.

Copper River is owned by the Native Village of Eyak, and as a designated small disadvantaged business, has key procurement advantages for federal contracts. It currently serves state and local government customers, Old Dominion University, Hughes Aerospace Corporation and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.

France

Sumsub is providing its biometric liveness technology as part of a KYC solution for French cash advance service Bling, which the fintech says has enabled it to cut its median onboarding time to between one and two minutes.

Bling, which launched in mid-2020, sought strong fraud-prevention mechanisms to detect fraud and fake documents as it grows from its user base of 200,000. Sumsub’s technology has improved its user experience, and enabled it to comply with French AML regulations and the 6th European AML Directive.

“The cash advance sector is attractive and rapidly growing, yet tough in terms of fraud,” said Jacob Sever, co-founder of Sumsub. “Gven the importance of fast onboarding in this area, checks need to be fast, while still proving a strong level of security. We are glad to support Bling’s growth with our fast and safe KYC checks and look forward to seeing them attract more customers with their young, modern, and innovative service.”

Australia

Data and Digital Ministers in Australia are working on an agreement on data sharing and establishing a national digital ID system throughout the country.

Citing a communiqué issued after a recent meeting, ZDNet reports that the Ministers talked of a “nationally consistent approach” to the digital ID, as its rollout in states and territories of Australia would facilitate access by citizens to various public services online.

“A consistent approach to digital identity will make it easier for the Australian public to interact online across a wide range of digital services, regardless of the jurisdiction they live in or the service they are accessing. Work is continuing between the Commonwealth, states and territories to make this a reality,” reads part of the communiqué seen by Biometric Update.

Qatar

Accura Scan is providing its face biometrics to Qatar-based Ahli Bank for digital KYC checks to onboard customers while reducing the manual workload on its employees.

Customers of Ahli Bank can use Accura Scan’s OCR and user verification solutions, including 3D selfie biometrics and liveness checks, for real-time customer verification, according to the announcement.

The mobile portal launched in February by the Department of Homeland Security for travellers will protect the privacy and digital ID of its users, according to an assessment by the department.

Nigeria

Nigeria’s Communications and Digital Economy Minister Dr. Isa Pantami says there are plans to equip the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) with state-of-the-art infrastructure, Vanguard reports.

The NIMC is the federal government agency responsible for overseeing the biometric capture process for the issuance of the national identification number (NIN), which is now compulsory for a number of public services in the country, including recently for the registration of new SIM cards.

During a meeting with the NIMC management team, Pantami said he was committed to delivering on the digital ID project. The biometric ID, he added, is critical to national planning and policy across various sectors such as education, healthcare, and agriculture, among others.

Pantami said he was working on the instructions and guidance of President Muhammadu Buhari in order to get the ongoing NIN registration process right, Vanguard notes.

In February, NIMC authorities assured that the digital ID project was well on course and that the target of issuing the biometric ID to at least 100 million Nigerians by 2022 would likely be met, as per Biometric Update.

Holland

The Dutch government’s approach to digital identity will be based on government issuance and recognition, reports Biometric Update.

Michiel van der Veen of the National Service for Identity Data (RvIG) and Wouter Welling of the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations (BZK) explained the Netherlands’ digital ID ambitions, from both the government and private sector sides, to iBestuur.

A Vision Letter submitted to the Dutch legislature by State Secretary Raymond Knops of BZK sets out challenges and opportunities around digital identity, and the government’s intentions to enable reliable data-sharing, organise access to digital services, issue a recognised foundational digital identity and establish the accompanying laws and regulations, according to a Google translation of the report.

Welling points out that the greater value of digital identity is from data exchanges, such as signing digital contracts, rather than the access control application that people typically associate digital ID with. The foundational digital identity the Dutch government intends to set up would the authoritative source to enable the trust and security necessary for these kinds of valuable exchanges. Welling compared the incoming digital identity to a passport, which is used as a foundation for functional IDs like bank or insurance cards.

“By issuing a source identity as a government, we build trust in the digital world,” says Van der Veen, who previously served as CEO of the European Association for Biometrics (EAB). “With a source identity you can lay down principles for privacy, such as privacy by design. It will promote online safety, transparency and inclusivity. Because where a commercial party may exclude certain groups because they are not that interesting commercially, a government must simply ensure that it is accessible to everyone.”

Accessibility to everyone means there must a non-digital option, he says.

Panama

Panama has selected Mastercard to support its digital ID vision.

Under the Digital Country Partnership agreement between Mastercard and the Panamanian Government Innovation Authority (AIG), the payments giant will support the country’s efforts to educate citizens and small business owners on digital payments, cybersecurity, digital identity and related topics. The key intended benefits include greater financial inclusion, by providing accounts to the currently-unbanked and exploring opportunities for social benefits programmes.

Mastercard’s Digital Allies platform will be made available to promote digital payments, multi-modal access cards will be issued for transit payments, and data and analytics will be provided to promote a recovery in the tourism sector, when appropriate.

Kuwait

Ooredoo Telecom has unveiled Kuwait Mobile ID, a mobile application provided by the Public Authority for Civil Information (PACI). It that provides users with a digital civil ID accredited for identification and digital signature for both government and private sector, for secure authentication of identities at any of its branches, sales channels, online, or through the MyOoredoo application.

Australia

The NSW Government is spearheading a project to develop a national Digital Birth Certificate.

Minister for Digital and Minister for Customer Service Victor Dominello said the NSW-led initiative was currently in the research phase and remained on track to deliver a proof of concept in the second half of 2021.

“NSW is the most digitally advanced jurisdiction in Australia and has already delivered popular digital products such as the Digital Driver Licence,” said Dominello. “This is what smart governments do – remove paperwork, save people time and put the customer at the centre.”

Attorney General Mark Speakman said community consultation was under way with a focus on schools, junior sports, and government agencies.

“It’s crucial to make any Digital Birth Certificate a highly secure document that is easy to authenticate and protected from fraudsters and criminals,” said Speakman. “That’s why we are carefully co-designing this proposal with the community to help prevent identity theft and crime.”

Nigeria

The States of Adamawa and Gombe in Nigeria say they are opting for biometric systems to check civil service fraud and cut the huge spending on ghost workers, per local reports.

Leadership reports that Adamawa has confirmed a biometric verification process for workers on the state payroll, beginning May 6. The process is planned to last for six weeks, and is in consonance with the State’s fiscal transparency, accountability and sustainability programme.

The State Permanent Secretary for Establishment and Training, Dr. Barminus Gayus, explained that the exercise will also involve retirees as well as workers in ministries, departments and agencies.

In Gombe, the plan is to put in place a biometric system which will check attendance for civil service workers, and in so doing identifying absentee workers on the state payroll, reports Vanguard.

The system, the report adds, will cost about N1.49 billion (about US$3.9 million) and will be deployed at both state and local government levels with the aim of ensuring transparency of salary and pension earners and the better management of human resource capacities.

United States

Onfido’s selfie biometrics have been chosen for document and identity verification by US-based fintech One to accelerate its onboarding process.

One launched in 2019, and says it provides an all-in-one banking platform to support middle class financial wellness.

“We decided to partner with Onfido as we needed a document verification solution that would enable us to scale quickly as we grow into new markets beyond the U.S.,” says Brent Baker, COO at One. “Onfido helps automate much of our KYC process and was incredibly easy to integrate into our existing tech stack, making things not only smoother for our end-users, but also for our internal operations and risk team.”

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