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Demonstrating value, integrated payments among key digital ID building blocks

Visa, Cybernetica, iProov explore user-centricity in Estonia’s digital identity system
Demonstrating value, integrated payments among key digital ID building blocks

Estonia has achieved an enviable level of user-centricity with its national digital identity system through careful legislation and fostering collaboration between the public and private sectors, according to panelists in a recent online event. Visa, the Estonian Information System Authority, Cybernetica and iProov discussed the building blocks needed for a user-centric digital identity program, highlighting the crucial role of trust in developing user-centric digital identity systems.

The panel included Michael Buckland, head of digital identity at Cybernetica, Riho Kurg, electronic identity architect at the Estonian Information System Authority, Campbell Cowie, head of policy at iProov, and Marie Austenaa, head of digital identity at Visa.

The speakers underscored the necessity of demonstrating tangible value to end-users, integrating payments within digital identity frameworks, and devising regulatory solutions that ensure inclusivity and accessibility.

Covering the current landscape of digital identity, touching on advancements in remote onboarding, biometrics, and wallet-based digital identity, the general consensus was the need to focus on regional considerations and the collaborative roles of government and commercial services in propelling digital transformation.

The potential benefits of digital identity programs, such as seamless and secure access to essential services, were also explored, with importance placed on accurately verifying users to prevent synthetic identities from entering the system, addressing challenges related to establishing trustworthy identity information sources, and the critical role of legislation in fostering trust.

Buckland mentions the foundational elements of user-centric digital identity solutions, with Kurg and Austenaa highlighting the importance of a robust trust layer and the need for effective regulation.

Additionally, the group addresses interoperability challenges of privacy-oriented digital wallets in financial transactions.

All speakers emphasize building consumer trust through safety, accessibility, and resilience in identity systems. They highlight the government’s role in establishing trust frameworks, setting regulations, and monitoring services. Trust perceptions vary across regions and sectors, with some areas exhibiting high trust in both government and private sector initiatives.

Discussions also addressed the evolution of digital identity, including wallet-based solutions, key management, biometrics, and trust mechanisms, underscoring the need for cross-border coordination. Inclusivity and accessibility were deemed essential for the successful digital transformation of public and commercial services, with a user-centric approach being pivotal.

Austenaa illustrates the value of digital identity programs in providing seamless, secure access to core services like healthcare and finance. Examples from Estonia demonstrate the practical benefits, such as facilitating quick and easy transactions, highlighting the need for meaningful use cases in digital identity systems.

Biometrics emerges as a significant component for secure onboarding and authentication, offering more accuracy and cost-effectiveness compared to human verification. However, there were mixed views on the role of AI and blockchain in this domain. Attribute attestations were discussed as a potential solution for longstanding digital identity challenges.

In addition to this, the impact of the EU’s digital identity wallet on existing payment infrastructures and the importance of interoperability between payment rails and wallets were key discussion points. The panel also addressed regulatory compliance, AML/CFT requirements, and innovative approaches to identity verification, such as the UK’s Citizen Pass initiative.

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