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Australia’s digital identity providers could help improve cybersecurity

Meta’s pay for verfiication scheme causes controversy, OCR Labs joins fintech ecosystem
Australia’s digital identity providers could help improve cybersecurity

Australian businesses must now submit cyber security risk reports to government agencies once a year to increase cybersecurity following recent high-profile security breaches at Medibank and Optus.

According to the Australian Manager of Opposition Business Paul Fletcher, digital identity providers could play a significant role in strengthening security for Australians.

“The underlying problem with the hacking of businesses is that businesses store a lot of our personal information – name, address, driver’s license and so on,” says Fletcher in an interview with Sky News Australia. “This data can be vulnerable to cyber-attacks. To combat this problem, we need to establish our identity digitally where each of us has a so-called trusted digital identity provider.”

An identity provider (IdP) is a trusted entity, whether it be from the public or private sector, that issues digital identities for people to use in daily financial and government activities.

The advantages of such a system, according to Fletcher, include increased security for individuals. Rather than businesses storing large amounts of personal data on their customers, each individual can provide a certificate that verifies their identity. Fletcher believes this could help reduce the risk of cyber attacks by making it more difficult for hackers to access sensitive data.

Controversy surrounds Meta’s new user pay verification system

That said, Meta recently announced a new user-pay verification system that will impose fees of between US$11.99 and $14.99 per month on users in Australia and New Zealand to receive authenticity stickers or badges. Called Meta Verified, the company has plans to expand this service worldwide.

“To help up-and-coming creators grow their presence and build community faster, today Mark Zuckerberg announced that we’ll begin testing a new offering called Meta Verified, a subscription bundle on Instagram and Facebook that includes a verified badge that authenticates your account with government ID, proactive account protection, access to account support, and increased visibility and reach,” explains Meta in a statement.

Meta Verified has been met with scepticism by Australian banking and payment stakeholders. Managing director of ConnectID Andrew Black questioned what data Meta would be harvesting to monetize user authentication, expressing concerns that adding to the “honeypot” of Meta data was not a good idea.

“Do we really want Meta and other social platforms to store my identity documentation and biometric images? Given the trust profile these organizations have, wouldn’t it be prudent to reduce the data they have to store,” states Black via LinkedIn.

OCR Labs becomes gold partner in FinTech Australia’s ecosystem program

Meanwhile, OCR Labs, an identity verification technology company, has become a gold member in FinTech Australia’s corporate partnership program, reports Fintech Finance News. The company says that by joining the likes of Google, Oracle, Mastercard, American Express and Moody’s, OCR is one of 37 partners committed to fostering relationships with key players in the fintech industry.

Rehan D’Almeida, the General Manager of FinTech Australia, comments: “We’re pleased to confirm that our partnership program continues to grow from strength to strength. We evaluate organizations based on their interest in engaging with our members and giving back to the community. With this in mind, we welcome OCR Labs as a gold partner.”

The move is part of OCR Labs’ efforts to work more closely with fintech and their partners to advise on and educate the industry about the critical role fintech plays in underpinning future identity solutions, the company says.

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