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Identifying billions: white paper touts economic heft of digital ID

Identifying billions: white paper touts economic heft of digital ID

The convenience and practical security benefits of digital credentials are often listed among their top benefits. But a new white paper from ATB Ventures emphasizes the vast economic potential in a Canadian marketplace that is ready for the widespread use of digital ID.

The white paper, Trust & the Evolution of Digital Identity in Canada, says that eight in ten Canadians now support digital IDs. More specifically, 66 percent believe in the importance of a secure and trusted digital ID to use for online transactions. And four in ten are already using digital wallets on their smartphones.

In this enthusiastic climate, says the paper, the Digital ID and Authentication Council of Canada (DIACC) estimates the potential economic value of trusted digital identity to be at least one percent of Canada’s GDP, equivalent to C$15 billion (US$11.3 billion).

“The time is right for both public and private sectors to adopt digital credentials and decentralize digital identity technology,” the paper says. “This will allow organizations to mitigate risks, safeguard their customers’ privacy, and foster trust in an increasingly interconnected world. From travel documentation, to financial account creation, to government service management: opportunities for evolution are unlimited.”

Safety first, $15 billion second

While the paper is understandably keen to highlight the “$15 billion opportunity currently facing citizens, businesses, and governments,” it does not ignore pressing concerns around digital ID and biometric security. Centralized systems, it argues, come with risks that are only increasing. Its authors cite the historic spike in fraud cases recorded in 2022.

“Traditional cloud storage solutions, while convenient and scalable, can pose a risk of data breaches due to the centralized nature,” the paper says. “In contrast, decentralized data storage solutions offer enhanced security by distributing information across multiple storage networks, making it more difficult for cybercriminals to access and compromise sensitive data.”

Just as new threats can drive timelines on development, so can global competition. Although the paper points out that Canada ranked 7th in the latest World Economic Forum report on digital competitiveness, it chides Canadian privacy policy for allowing 72 percent of Canadian companies to grant third-party access to data they collect from customers. Speed to market may also become a factor in policy change, with three quarters of Canadians saying they believe it is important for governments to move quickly on implementing digital IDs.

DIACC ushers in new board to guide digital ID

The DIACC has a new team dedicated to the mushrooming issues around digital trust, identity, data control and privacy protection. A release says the refreshed board is comprised of “renowned leaders and visionaries from various sectors.”

New appointees include Mike Cook, CEO of Identos, and John Roberts, associate deputy minister, chief digital and data officer, chief privacy officer and archivist of Ontario.

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