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Canada’s DIACC has lessons for trusted digital identity in Australia

Canada’s DIACC has lessons for trusted digital identity in Australia

User choice and data minimization are both expected to play critical roles in establishing the public trust both Canada and Australia are planning to deliver in digital identity for a wide range of services.

This point was emphasized when Digital Identity and Authentication Council of Canada (DIACC) President Joni Brennan joined the NAB (National Australia Bank) Digital Next podcast for its latest episode.

Host Brad Carr describes Canada as a country with similar dynamics to Australia, which has “made some tremendous strides on the identity journey already under the leadership of Joni and the DIACC team.”

Carr praises Canada’s success in building collaboration between both the public and private sectors and in advancing the Pan-Canadian Trust Framework.

Brennan says that viewing the process as continuous has helped, as has prioritizing broad collaboration. From financial institutions to government actors to academia, different stakeholders are encouraged to contribute their view.

DIACC was born out of the global financial crisis in 2008-2009, based on a need to update the country’s payments system. From there, its mandate has been extending to engagement with different sectors beyond the financial system.

Australia is attempting to follow Canada’s lead in giving user’s choice, Carr says, and data minimization.

DIACC is most interested in applications that involve interaction between the private and public sector, such as the use of government issued ID credentials for private service access, Brennan says.

That requires adequate trust, which in turn means privacy protections, which DIACC seeks to support through user control.

“We know we’re in an ecosystem that has a lot of misinformation and disinformation right now, and so having those principles of transparency around what data exists about us, what data is authoritative that exists about us, where we can use that data, making sure that we have the ability to use that data and that’s part of our rights structure, and that we have choices around using that data; we think those are important foundations for building and sustaining public trust,” she explains.

Carr refers to the recent DIACC survey in which respondents identified barriers to digital identity service adoption, calling it “a great snapshot” of what policy or legislative changes are needed.

The survey shows that clarity is needed from the government side, Brennan says, including on how the government will carry out its responsibility to deliver credentials in a way that people can use them for digital identity, KYC and AML checks.

The technology seems to be most of the way there already, according to Brennan.

The discussion touched on challenges like recognizing the credentials that immigrants have earned overseas, and reaching people who are more physically or socially isolated.

DIACC is working on building inclusion into Canada’s digital ID by design, Brennan says.

To support international standards and cross-border engagement, tools that map trust frameworks to each other would help, and common areas like anti-money laundering rules can be used as a starting point to build from, Brennan advises.

The Voila Verify Trustmark program is another example of a tool that can be mapped against similar tools to help international digital identity efforts.

NAB Head of Digital Identity and Access Olaf Grewe then joined the podcast to note the importance of including academia, along with the public and private sectors, in collaboration.

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