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Australia, Canada look to digital identity solutions to get rid of physical ID cards

Australia, Canada look to digital identity solutions to get rid of physical ID cards

Mastercard has rolled out a new digital identity pilot in Australia this week that can identify a person in both digital and physical environments, the company announced.

Mastercard is testing different ways of proving identity without having to rely on multiple physical documents or centralized identity databases. The project is based on a distributed model that, when activated, uses information from the mobile device which has been checked through additional reference points, such as the person’s bank or government agencies taking part in the pilot.

“Our increasingly digital life – the way we transact and interact – has challenged our traditional notions of identity, trust and privacy. We need a new model,” said Ajay Bhalla, president of cyber and intelligence for Mastercard. “We believe that this starts with a commitment to the responsible handling of personal information, giving consumers control over which data is used and how it is used to verify their identity.”

In March, Mastercard introduced its consumer-centric approach in a Principles of Digital Identity vision paper, after announcing a collaboration with Microsoft on a decentralized universal ID system in December of 2018.

The pilot program is carried out in partnership with Australia Post which will use the existing digital ID solution to enable Australians to identify themselves when using the services, and with Deakin University where student volunteers will test an identity verification process for student registration and digital exams.

“Australia Post is delighted to participate in this pilot, which will help raise awareness about digital identity in Australia and provide our Digital iD users access to a larger variety of uses,” said Regis Bauchiere, general manager, identity products and services for Australia Post. “Complementing our participation in the Trusted Digital Identity Framework, it also positions Digital iD as the only identity provider offering our communities access to both government and private sector services.”

“We’re delighted to partner with Mastercard in this first trial to test concepts that can one day deliver intelligent, future-focused solutions ready to respond to a digital world’s needs,” said William Confalonieri, chief digital officer for Deakin University. “The pilot aligns with our institution’s digital-first strategy to improve the user experience and we look forward to the concept moving into other trial environments.”

Future plans for 2020 include new partnerships and pilots across multiple markets.

Canadian province Quebec is also looking into biometrics to confirm online identity and get rid of traditional physical government IDs by 2021, writes CBC.

The Quebec government is specifically targeting medicare cards and drivers’ licenses. Residents would log in once to access the services and confirm identity through tools like facial or voice recognition software, while digital IDs would be accessed through a smartphone app that could function as a digital wallet. The app would store copies of government-issued IDs.

Éric Caire, the junior minister responsible for government digital transformation, believes this measure would reduce fraud, privacy breaches and data theft.

The government is waiting to see if any companies in the private sector would be interested in taking over the project. Details about cost have not been revealed.

This will not be a measure imposed on residents, people would still be able to use physical documents.

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