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Canadian digital ID lab granted funds as demand jumps, DIACC head interviewed by iProov

Canadian digital ID lab granted funds as demand jumps, DIACC head interviewed by iProov

The Digital Identity Laboratory of Canada has been awarded grant contributions from the City of Gatineau, the Québec government, Converge Technology Solutions, Equitable Bank and Sagard Holdings. The Lab says the funding brings it closer to its initial fundraising goal of $1 million.

The Lab is an independent and neutral non-profit organization that seeks to promote regulatory compliance and interoperability among digital ID solutions in the private and public sectors to advance Canada’s digital ecosystem, and claims to be the first of its kind in the country.

The Lab is also acknowledging what it says is the demonstration of thought leadership by early adopters of its service, including SecureKey Technologies, TreeFort, ExactData, Identos, Northern Block, Notarius and Prodigy Labs. SecureKey is one in a first group of sandbox sponsors for the Lab.

Digital Identification and Authentication Council of Canada (DIACC) President Joni Brennan says the Lab will play a role in furthering the Pan-Canadian Trust Framework, which the DIACC published earlier this year.

“DIACC is proud to collaborate with In-Sec-M to establish Canada’s national Digital ID Laboratory. The Lab will play an important role for public and private sector verification of digital ID technologies in alignment with the Pan-Canadian Trust Framework.”

The DIACC is Canada’s leading organization for compliant and interoperable digital ID, according to the announcement.

Pierre Roberge, the Lab’s founder and general manager, says that it plans to become financially self-sufficient, but needs funding to establish itself. Canadian cybersecurity industry cluster centre of excellence In-Sec-M provided support and seed funding to the Lab.

During the pandemic, digital identity took on new importance in Canada, with all government benefits delivered through online accounts with Revenue Canada, American Banker writes.

This could be done through government services security credentials mailed to them, but many Canadians chose digital authentication platforms developed in country for digital ID. SecureKey’s Concierge and 2Keys’ GCKey each saw huge increases in demand, according to the article.

SecureKey CEO Greg Wolfond says the company onboarded millions of new Concierge users in the first weeks of the pandemic, and processed 800 government aid transactions per second at one point. The service allows Canadians to access Revenue Canada taxpayer accounts through their bank.

Wolfond says SecureKey’s Verified.Me federated identity platform has also had a number of new service providers sign up to its network. Onfido provides document verification for Verified.Me. Equifax provides fraud intelligence.

“As a result of the lockdown, Canadian banks are keen to launch remote services and use our digital ID platform so customers don’t have to visit branches to apply for new products,” Wolfond said. SecureKey serves several major Canadian banks, insurers, and healthcare provider Dynacare.

2Keys reports a million new users and a 549 percent increase in logins for employment insurance and government pension benefits in April.

Canadian banks became able to open new accounts with electronic signatures when the government amended its regulations in 2016.

DIACC’s Brennan is also the guest of the inaugural episode of iProov’s new Identity Matters podcast.

Brennan tells iProove SVP, Revenue Luke Moore that the DIACC hopes for a balance between the provision of too many digital IDs to people, which consumers are clear they do not want, and a single service or provider which may not afford sufficient choice or flexibility. A common data model should be applied to credentials supplied by different authorities to ensure they are portable and can be easily used with different networks.

The impact of COVID-19 on digital identity, the role of digital ID in health services and in the return to relative normality, and how to avoid exclusion are discussed by Brennan and Moore, along with how to encourage widespread adoption of digital ID.

Brennan credits collaboration between the financial, public, and tech sectors in Canada with building the foundation that allowed them to make sudden changes when lockdown measures imposed new processes on society.

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