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Discovery of digital wallets’ DNA unveiled at OIX Identity Trust

Interoperability, trust and frameworks need more work
Discovery of digital wallets’ DNA unveiled at OIX Identity Trust

Digital wallets could be a game changer for digital identity, if challenges related to global interoperability, privacy protection and user understanding can be resolved. This was one of several conclusions reached by stakeholders at the Open Identity Exchange’s Identity Trust 2023.

The event, held in London on Thursday, drew together policy and standards-makers, identity verification and wallet providers, biometrics developers like Yoti, age verification providers like Luciditi and relying parties from a range of verticals. Over 200 people attended either in-person or on-line.

Louise French of the Future Laboratory presented the vision for digital trust in the “authentaverse,” as laid out in a report co-authored with LexisNexis earlier this year.

Open Identity Foundation Chair Nat Sakimura cautioned the community to resist “the fallacy of decentralization,” noting that web2 is often mischaracterized as being based on platforms that were nascent or did not exist at all at it’s dawn. Further, with wallet’s promising a centralized repository of each individual’s data, they may present a convenient and lucrative target for future cybercriminals.

Minister for Tech and the Digital Economy Paul Scully spoke about the government’s priorities, including standing up an Office of Digital Identity to manage the nation’s trust framework.

OIX debuted a pair of videos from a forthcoming series created to engage businesses and consumers, with language catering to each in different versions.

Making wallets work everywhere

OIX Chief Identity Strategist Nick Mothershaw posed the question “should government’s provide digital wallets?” The organization will release a white paper arguing that the greatest benefit to all stakeholders will be realized if they do not within weeks.

OIX Founder Don Thibeau says digital wallets could prove a watershed for digital identity by reframing the technology in terms that consumers can easily understand.

The challenges and possible next steps towards interoperability were discussed at length by a panel made up of Mothershaw, Sakimura and Juliana Cafik of Microsoft. Their conversation touched on the need for frameworks that can be used to map them against each other, and how to make them work in different jurisdictions than the one they were issued in, a concept Mothershaw refers to as “roaming wallets.”

The idea is that the wallet, on entering a new legal territory, would read the applicable trust framework and adapt to it, until it leaves the jurisdiction.

Success stories and trust issues

Joseph Heenan of the Open Wallet Foundation lauded the code contributions from organizations including Google, Ping Identity, Trinsic (Hyperledger Aires) and MOSIP to components that can be used to build wallets compliant with the applicable standards.

Mothershaw also explained the concept of the DNA of digital ID, which are the elemental building blocks that all are based on. OIX is planning to publish a pair of white papers on the concept and how it can contribute to the global interoperability of digital IDs at the upcoming Identity Week event.

Chris Lewis of Synectics presented the rapidly pace of digitization and the evolving fraud that has accompanied it. He referred to several new approaches to mitigating that fraud, including Synectics’ fraud signals sharing project with Yoti and Mitek.

Nexi’s Roland Eichenauer followed with the positive story of Denmark’s widely adopted and trusted digital ID, which is used for over 180 public services and more than 2,000 from the private sector.

Geraint Rogers of Daon led a panel of relying parties, showcasing how an NHS recruitment service, a home-care recruiter, and a beauty and skin care company are using digital IDs in different ways.

Jenn Roldvold of Sopra Steria shared alarming statistics making clear that while effective digital IDs are here today, they are severely lacking in trust. The problem is more fundamental to the digital world, however. Terms and conditions are intended to function as a corporate transparency layer, she explained, but under a quarter of people claim to read them. Roldvold is sceptical of how consistently those who claim to read the Ts and Cs actually do so.

A discussion between Elizabeth Garber of OpenID, Rachelle Sellung of Fraunhoffer and Dr. Sarah Walton of Women in Identity spelled out risks and worst practices that explain a good deal of that mistrust.

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