Editorial

Digital Identity: Global Roundup

Digital identity news from around the world

Posted 11 October 2021 by Christine Horton


United States

The US federal government has awarded $239 million for four digital identity-related agency projects, three of which are zero-trust initiatives. It is part of a $1 billion fund to be disbursed.

Login.gov, part of the General Services Administration, will receive $187 million in batches. The cross-agency service is expanding identity verification coverage as it grows throughout the government.

The money will pay for options for digital identity and in-person verifications for “vulnerable populations.” Advanced digital security capabilities will be explored with the funds as well.

The remaining three allocations target zero-trust functions.

About $30 million is going to the General Services Administration as its managers, among other modernization tasks, create a zero-trust architecture. Engineers will build systems capable of continuously verifying the identity of users, devices and applications.

The Department of Education similarly will build a zero-trust architecture as part of a project that one $20 million from the modernization fund.

The Office of Personnel Management, meanwhile, was awarded $10 million to speed the adoption of zero-trust architecture strategies. One part of the effort is expected to create new digital identity management options especially in inter-agency projects.

Australia

The federal government has announced exposure legislation expanding its digital identity programme to state governments and the private sector, with a consultation period commencing before it is soon introduced to Parliament, reports InnovationAus.

The legislation will introduce two voluntary schemes to accredit companies and governments as service providers or relying partners in the digital identity programme, as well as enshrining extra privacy safeguards in law and establishing a permanent oversight authority for the scheme.

The Digital Transformation Agency has been working on the legislation for more than a year, and an exposure draft has now been unveiled.

The Trusted Digital Identity Bill is a package of multiple legislative instruments which will be the “rule book” for the government’s digital identity system, including the Trusted Digital Identity Framework, accreditation rules, the Trusted Digital Identity rules and technical standards, which are yet to be released.

The government is splitting its digital identity programme into two voluntary schemes which will be enshrined in law through the legislation.

These will be the existing Trusted Digital Identity Framework (TDIF) accreditation, for providers of identity services to be accredited under the government rules, and the new Trusted Digital Identity System, which will see companies accredited to actually participate in the digital identity ecosystem.

Under the TDIF there will be four types of accreditation on offer: identity service provider, identity exchange, attribute service provider and credential service provider.

Canada

Interac has acquired exclusive rights to SecureKey’s blockchain-based digital ID services for Canada, as it moves to build a federated identity network which lets consumers use their online banking credentials to log in to public and private sector web services

The acquisition of the SecureKey Canadian business contracts and exclusive licence in Canada of its intellectual property is the latest investment by Interac in the digital ID space following the 2019 takeover of 2Keys Corporation.

Built on IBM blockchain technology, SecureKey’s Verified.Me app helps users verify their identity simply online, in person and on the phone using information they consent to share from connections, such as banks, to access things like health records and government services, and to open accounts with banks and telcos.

Six of Canada’s financial institutions participated in a $27 million funding round for SecureKey in 2016.

Singapore

Yinda Infocomm is to be known as Totm Technologies, and says it is looking forward to expanding its digital identity management and biometrics business portfolio globally, as per Biometric Update.

The Singapore-based company states that the rebranding move was agreed upon during its extraordinary general meeting which took place on September 30, and signals the desire to spread its business reach beyond communication solutions and services.

The name change follows a number of corporate actions undertaken by the company, which include the acquisition of a 51 percent stake in software company International Biometrics, investments in Tech5, as well as subscription of new shares for a 70 percent stake in GenesisPro.

Totm Technologies says it will capitalise on its successful deployment and maintenance of a biometric national identity system in Indonesia to build more inroads for identity management biometric solutions for the country’s growing digital market.

Malaysia

NtechLab is making its entry into the Malaysian market with the introduction of its FindFace Multi face biometrics solution, reports Nasi Lemak Tech.

NtechLab’s FindFace Multi system can recognise faces (including those wearing masks), silhouettes and cars in real-time using video analytics.

The news outlet adds that with the opening of the local branch in Malaysia, the company is in the process of shopping for partners from the biometric industry. It also suggests that NtechLab could also be looking to establish a partnership with the Malaysian government to encourage the latter adopt and deploy the company’s solution.

NtechLab has been deploying its face biometrics system at Indian and Russian railway stations this year.

United States

Delta Air Lines is expanding its partnership with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) with its use of facial recognition technology making getting through airport security quicker.

The airline is implementing a “digital identity experience” at its hub in Atlanta, offering customers with TSA PreCheck and a Delta SkyMiles number the chance to pass through security and board their flight without having to pull out a boarding pass or their ID.

Customers must store their passport information and either TSA PreCheck or Global Entry Known Traveler Number in their SkyMiles profile in Delta’s app and then opt-in at check-in. When customers go to pass through security, their image is taken, encrypted, and sent to US Customs and Border Protectio’s facial biometric matching service, according to the airline.

Delta said participating in the programm3 is voluntary and the airline does not save or store any biometric data.

South Africa

South Africans can now apply for a Covid-19 digital vaccine certificate through a digital vaccination certificate portal, according to the department of health.

Health Minister Joe Phaahla told a news briefing that the introduction of the portal was a major highlight in the country’s ongoing battle against the Covid-19 pandemic.

The launching of the certificate – a joint venture between the health department and the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research – comes a day after the UK announced it was removing South Africa from its Covid-19 travel red list.