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Mobey Forum talks high need for digital identity schemes, analyzes contact tracing apps

Mobey Forum talks high need for digital identity schemes, analyzes contact tracing apps

The COVID-19 global health crisis has led to an increasing need for digital identity schemes, an opportunity banks should take advantage of and lead implementation, advises Mobey Forum in its latest report published by its Digital ID Expert Group.

‘The Mobey Long Take – Post-Covid-19 Digital Identity’ report emphasizes why banks should not miss out on the opportunity because they are in a “unique position” due to the major role they played in distributing government intervention and support strategies. Since COVID-19 hit, many functions have gone digital, revealing the urgent need for digital identity, as countless organizations in healthcare and education, for example, chose digital solutions to securely reach their users.

As many governments have either already introduced or are thinking about introducing contact tracing apps to contain the infection, the report also analyzes their effects on the digital identity ecosystem, specifically related to additional use cases. While rushing to make a solution available, many countries do not take into account how the apps could be used in the future, beyond contact tracing.

A key consideration should be whether data storage is managed through a centralized or decentralized model. Asian countries, for example, tend to store data centrally, and Chinese apps will have to comply with state rules. However, in Europe, Finland has chosen a decentralized model, while the UK is more resistant to government control over identity data. Australia and Singapore went for the decentralized approach.

“Banks have a long history of credibility and trust, placing them in an advantageous position to become the leading providers of digital identity services, particularly during times of global crisis,” said Jukka Yliuntinen, co-chair of the Digital ID Expert Group, Mobey Forum, in a prepared statement. “During the Covid-19 pandemic, digital identity has become critical to enabling public access to key services including government benefits, healthcare and education. Many services became digital almost overnight and there is now a growing expectation for this to continue and improve, underpinned by a robust approach to digital identity. Banks are uniquely placed to lead the way with a centralized model which would alleviate many common fears around the collection, tracking and sharing of personal data.”

COVID-19 has accelerated demand for digital identity services, visible in countries such as Norway, Denmark, the UK, and Belgium. For example, Belgian eID itsme registered a 30 percent usage increase, Norway’s BankID saw a 45 percent increase, and UK’s Verify saw nearly three times more enrolments per week. Although a young market, Canada’s Verified.Me reported an increase in the number of companies and organizations who joined its digital identity service.

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, banks have played a critical role as a distribution mechanism for many of the government intervention and support strategies,” Elina Mattila, Executive Director, Mobey Forum, said in a prepared statement. “As countries start to emerge from regional lockdowns, the creation of COVID-19 contact tracing apps – if designed correctly – could operate as a springboard for the creation of digital identity systems, giving people more choice over how they access key services in future. Banks should be ready to step in and support their evolution into a more comprehensive digital identity scheme.”

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