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Working to remove barriers to digital ID adoption

Working to remove barriers to digital ID adoption

By Nick Mothershaw, Chief Identity Strategist at the Open Identity Exchange

Digital ID ecosystems are developing and evolving rapidly, but adoption continues to be slow in many places. Digital ID is already the main route to private and public sector services in some countries. It’s changing the way organizations in those countries are onboarding and managing their customers and members, and the changes are positive. But in places where digital ID adoption is still tentative, organizations that will benefit most from it still see digital ID as complex and confusing.

There are three key concerns that keep cropping up in conversations that the non-profit organization Open Identity Exchange (OIX) is having with industries where digital ID will have the greatest impact. There is a persistent lack of understanding about what digital really is, how it will work or what the benefits are among those that will come to rely on digital ID the most.

For the organizations at the forefront of helping to drive positive digital ID developments across the ecosystems, it is important that they understand what these barriers are. They must and play a role in helping those that will come to accept and rely on digital understand why digital ID is a good thing and why adoption needs to start happening now.

Digital ID concerns complicating access to the services organizations offer

At least six million people in the UK and one billion globally struggle to prove who they are. This is a challenge for organisations that want to be able to quickly, safely and efficiently onboard and manage as many customers as they can. If digital ID becomes the primary route for access to services, many businesses are understandably worried that this will exacerbate the situation while at the same time impacting the experiences of existing customers and their journey.

The way digital ID is progressing, however, means that there is a strong focus on inclusivity, alternative proofing methods and assisted digital capabilities.

The goal of major stakeholders driving this progress around the world is to ensure that anyone that wants a digital ID can obtain one easily. For the millions of people who do not have the evidence needed or the digital skills required to get a digital ID, alternative options are being explored and established to varying to degrees.

Everyone must be able to access services. So, for those who simply do not want a digital ID, there will be alternative options enabling them to continue to access the services they are entitled to without needing a digital ID.

It’s vital that the organization that will come to rely on digital ID know that in countries where digital ID use is strongly encouraged and embraced by businesses across all sectors, access to services ie healthcare, education and jobs has in fact increased.

Concerns about skating on thin ice when it comes privacy issues

The issue of privacy and its protection has been a big talking point and digital ID has been at the center of it more recently. Unfortunately, this has led to a number of myths around digital ID, the most common being that the biometrics within a digital ID will be used to monitor the behavior of the people they belong to. As a result, businesses are worried about falling foul of privacy requirements somewhere along the lines.

It is vital that these organizations are reminded that there are indeed stringent rules and laws in place to ensure the identity data within a digital ID is only used in a way that respects privacy. And, these requirements apply strictly to every party in the digital ID eco system.

Concerns about security

Security continues to be one of the areas causing most concern for businesses. It brings with it high levels of uncertainty around how digital ID will impact current levels of fraud. According to UK Finance, there is currently a fraud epidemic causing huge financial, social and political problems for the UK. Across the globe the cost of fraud has been estimated at $5.4 trillion. Understandably, organizations are asking whether this will have positive or negative impact on fraud levels.

The good news is that digital ID has key features that make it a far safer option. In fact, it has the potential to help reduce the current levels of fraud. Furthermore, relying party organizations should be made aware that there are rules, across the globe, being put in place to ensure digital ID is secure.

We need to help businesses recognize the benefits of embracing digital ID

The benefits of embracing digital ID are vast, including increased success rates for onboarding new customers, as well as returning customers, instant access to services, reduced identity fraud levels, improved compliance and reduced cost per user overall.

Employers, businesses and other bodies that will come to accept and rely on digital ID as the primary way for their customers to access their services, will need to be in a position to start accepting digital ID soon and with confidence.

As organizations that are part of the ecosystem and driving digital ID progress, we must work together to explain simply and clearly to these relying party organizations how digital ID will work for them, and alleviate the concerns that still persist around access, security and privacy.

About the author

Nick Mothershaw is Chief Identity Strategist at the Open Identity Exchange (OIX), a non-profit trade organization on a mission to create a world where everyone can prove their identity and eligibility anywhere through a universally trusted ID. Working with organizations across the globe, Nick is leading the development of clear guidance around inter-operable, trusted identities. In his previous role as Director of ID and Fraud at Experian, he led the development, launch and operation of a full ‘Identity as a Service’ solution – the first live example of a digital ID that is seamlessly interoperable across public and private sector in the UK.

DISCLAIMER: Biometric Update’s Industry Insights are submitted content. The views expressed in this post are that of the author, and don’t necessarily reflect the views of Biometric Update.

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