Canadian banks suggest biometrics and federated ID to support digital economy

Canadian banks suggest biometrics and federated ID to support digital economy

Canada needs to create a digital identification system leveraging new technologies like biometrics, blockchain, and live video document review to realize the full potential of digital ecosystems, according to the Canadian Bankers Association (CBA), the Toronto Star reports.

CBA Chief Executive Neil Parmenter called for the adoption of a federated digital ID model during a recent speech in Toronto, and said that the need to improve on current systems “will only grow more urgent.” The Canadian government is exploring open banking, he said, while payment system modernization and new developments in blockchain and artificial intelligence are also driving the need for change. The Department of Finance launched public consultation on open banking last week, according to the Star.

The CBA has published a white paper on federated identity systems, which in an open banking system could enable fintech companies and other third parties to be granted access by users to their accounts to offer services.

“Instantly verifying who someone is using multiple digital reference points is more secure than relying on a photocopy of a drivers’ licence,” Parmenter told the Economic Club of Canada. “Because this digital network is connected, yet decentralized, the risk of compromising the system is reduced by eliminating ‘honeypots’ of data that hackers tend to target.”

A Unisys survey of Europeans last year found that more than half support federated identification for online services, while only a third would share biometric data for faster access to banking and government services.

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