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Australian digital ID experts say smart devices key to identity verification

Categories Biometrics News  |  Trade Notes

Australian digital identity experts unanimously agreed that smart devices will play a key role in the development of identity verification, according to a report by the Australian Financial Review.

Speaking at the recent Digital Identity roundtable in Sydney, Australia Post’s Digital Delivery Centre general manager Cameron Gough said that smart device identification will involve multi-factor authentication.

“Just having the device might be one and then touch ID and potentially a face biometric,” Gough said. “Depending on what transaction you are doing I think it provides a smorgasbord of possibilities for authentication.”

He also said that the authentication method required will be what works best for the consumer in a specific situation.

“If you’re on the phone and you’re calling a contact centre, then the device in the background is probably enough to verify an individual but you could add voice,” Gough said. “And if you’re online, there would be other ways to verify a user. The beauty of a device is there’s a microphone, a screen, touch ID and a camera presenting all of these possibilities to verify your identity.”

Telstra’s executive director of home and premium services, John Chambers, said smart devices will rely on digital identity.

However, he said there is an inherent need for a multi-factor authentication method that can adapt to the given situation.

“It won’t be one size fits all – different transactions will need to be suitable for a given moment,” Chambers said. “It would be frustrating for consumers if what was required to verify your identity was greater than you could provide at a particular time, so it needs to be able to adapt to the moment.”

NAB Labs executive general manager Jonathan Davey echoed Chambers’ statements about the multi-factor process needing to be staggered in importance based on the circumstance or action.

“For example, your facial recognition might be able to perform complex transactions but for other simpler queries maybe it’s simply a PIN and a password or whatever it might be,” Davey said. “Importantly, you need to be clear on what the standards are, what the different data attributes are, and what these different data attributes will allow from an authorisation perspective.”

Additionally, roundtable participants said that blockchain technology will likely play a small role in establishing secure digital identities.

The technology solution will combine encryption, biometrics and cryptography, however, agency services head at RealMe and Kiwibank Mandy Smith said the issue is not the enabling technology but rather establishing the standards for Australia.

“You have to agree on who is going to administer it, who is going to be responsible for verifying the identities,” Smith said. “Once you’ve actually established some of those foundation elements, then the technology will be there to enable it.”

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