Industry Experts Declare Identity is Broken: A Discussion on Innovation in Identity

Last week in NYC, OWI hosted a panel discussion with BioCatch, InfoMart, Ipsidy, PTB Ventures and Uniken on Innovation in Identity.


Identity is Broken

The first question was, is identity broken? The answer was a unanimous yes. No one disagreed on that; rather the discourse was around what to do about it as global citizens and businesses.

We are all aware of high profile data breaches and the seemingly endless news of personal data being compromised. A popular view was that this is happening because of the many layers that we currently have around establishing identity. Entities tend to glue a lot of pieces together to verify an identity including passwords, devices, ID’s, biometrics and such.

Beyond the layers or pieces, you have other variables to consider. Take payments as an example. You have consumers, employees and multiple device types as variables. All of these must be considered and accounted for in a verification solution, and all agree that humans are the weakest link.

The view was that these layers are what make systems vulnerable and allow hackers to win, and what is missing is a complete identity verification solution that puts the pieces together wholly from the start, say at customer onboarding. The overwhelming majority of fraud is in the onboarding step and can be avoided with sufficient solutions. However, the identity must then be continually verified.

Further evidence to how pervasive the identity problem is, top carriers from the TelCo industry are joining together for Project Verify in which AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon promise a solution to change identity management and security, replacing passwords with more secure, device-based, multi-factor authentication.


Trends in ID Verification Solutions

Most agreed that biometrics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are key moving forward. Research group Goode Intelligence has projected that over 580 million bank customers will use cloud-based biometrics by 2020.

One trend is focusing on behavioral biometrics, which may lead to better solutions. This includes obvious things like keystrokes and device use/habits, but can also tap into subconscious behavior. This is one way to beat sophisticated hackers.

Biometrics will also continue to play a big role in the US Army Intelligence with Biometrics Enabled Intelligence (BEI) and in border and access control with continued terrorist threats. With 1.8 billion international arrivals expected worldwide in 2030, identity management is going to become even more complex because not all countries, government agencies, airports and airlines are at the same level of technological maturity.

Other trends included a focus on establishing trusted devices that are tied to identities, creating one single, strong login vs. multiple logins across accounts, mutual authentication – between businesses & consumers – and blockchain.


The US vs. the Rest of the World

Identity verification solutions vary greatly depending on the region. There are socioeconomics, governing systems and adoption rates to consider. In the US for example, there is not a strong identification background. There is a need to redefine this and build a stronger infrastructure. South America was mentioned as an example where identity is linked straight to the government database. Another example was the Bank ID program in Sweden. A consortium of trusted banks downloaded tokens on consumers’ computers and they use the bank ID system for activities such as voting.

Most felt that the emergence of technology will develop and be adopted outside of the US and migrate back. We are seeing many countries adopt verification technology around voting, airports/travel and payments like China’s Alipay and WeChat Pay.


What is the Solution?

Everyone recognizes there is problem with identity verification today. All industries will be looking to solve it and claim that they are “the platform.” It really depends on use case and industry to get a best of breed solution. There is no perfect solution out there.

The concept of a trusted Self Sovereign Identity (SSI) platform was discussed. Is this the answer? Not all agreed. The idea was that with SSI, consumers can present claims that are true to other people without having to go through a third party. Individuals would control what personal data they share, how and with whom. Advantages include enhancing privacy, economic benefits and decentralization.

All agreed that the private sector will drive the solutions and be led by the financial sector, as they have the most to gain and the most to lose.

It was also agreed that at the end of the day consumers want anywhere, anytime capability and convenience. They don’t want security to be their concern in transactions they conduct and do not view this as their problem. Rather consumers want the institution or business they are transacting with to deal with and solve it. Abandonment rates today are as high as 40%; if people can’t do it fast, they are on to the next. There are simply too many choices in every industry and a good experience is key. The bottom line is consumers will avoid friction – but at what cost?



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Will Biometrics Help Solve the Digital Identity Crisis?

The increase of high-profile data breaches and the evolving sophistication of hackers has shifted consumer perceptions and expectations around trust and identity verification. The identity verification process, once considered a behind-the-scenes step, is now being used by organizations as a differentiator to showcase the importance being placed on protecting customer PII.

But even with growing security concerns, consumers still expect an efficient and frictionless experience during onboarding and day-to-day transactions. As such, biometric technology has quickly become a popular method for authenticating users due to its efficacy, accuracy and convenience.

Biometrics such as facial recognition and fingerprint technology promise to improve the identity proofing process, binding a person to who they claim to be. Customers and users are finding biometrics much more convenient than passwords, paperwork, or online transaction and registration forms. Biometric verification can be used as a layer to strengthen and improve processes for on premise and for mobile or cloud-based services for initial onboarding/account opening, and as a standalone method for ongoing validation after one’s identity has been established.

Organizations are looking for a better method to authenticate users with high fraud prevention. This is especially true given an increasingly digital economy where the trend is towards conducting remote transactions on a mobile device. A new report from Juniper Research predicts that the biggest shift in mobile payment security will be the move towards software-based methods. It predicts that built-in biometrics (such as that offered by voice or facial recognition) will authenticate 1.5B mobile payments by 2023.

However, mainstreaming biometrics faces a variety of challenges. While it is expected that 67% of people worldwide will own smartphones by 2019, data privacy and user acceptance remain the key barriers to adoption. To overcome this, organizations across all industries must invest in appropriate data security mechanisms to protect biometrics data and focus on balancing security with a good user experience. Solutions should be easily adoptable and include familiar behaviors, such as taking selfies for facial recognition and utilizing fingerprints.

As more end-users grow comfortable with verification methods such as iris scanning or facial recognition software, we’ll see biometrics adopted at greater rates across all industries. In particular, airports are beginning to adopt biometrics for easy board gating and to support immigration and emigration border processes. And it’s working — just last month, a newly introduced facial recognition system helped catch an impostor at Dulles International. A 26-year-old man traveling from Brazil with a French passport was flagged by the airport’s facial recognition technology, which was put in place just three days ago. Upon a secondary check, he was found to be from the Republic of Congo and impersonating the man whose picture was in his passport.

Consumers want to feel secure and expect businesses to protect their information, but they still expect their transactions and onboarding to happen in a fast, convenient and effortless way. Similarly, companies need to approve more legitimate customers and ensure their trust, while defending their systems from fraud.



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The Next Wave of Digital Identity Powered by Codebase and Acuant

Codebase Technologies’ Digibanc Product suite joins forces with USA’s Acuant in providing the Gulf Cooperation Council (the GCC includes Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman) region with an unparalleled digital identity and eKYC solution, Digibanc Identity.

Digital Identity has revolutionized the concept of how we perceive identity by creating a simple yet effective means of how we verify, access and stay up to date with our surroundings at both home and work.

Codebase technologies’ digital identity and customer onboarding module utilizes the innovative machine learning forensics and smart document analysis augmentations to create Digibanc Identity. Together Acuant and Codebase aim to offer a strong customer focused solution to industries who are heavily focused on their customers and are looking to provide deeper and more engaged customer experience.

With Digibanc Identity, organizations can now lower their customer acquisition costs, operating expenditures, onboarding times, and physical location footfalls from 40% – 70%.

Digibanc Identity’s has successfully been deployed for a large scale regional bank in the GCC providing them with robust regulatory compliance and increased customer satisfaction.

Digibanc Identity aims to establish itself as the benchmark technology for institutions for the verification and onboarding of their valuable customer base on a global scale starting with the GCC and South Asian Regions.

Codebase Technologies is a long-established technology service provider that practices innovation at its core. Established in 1998, CBT is part of an investment group based out of UAE with diversified service offering across industries. It provides competitive and state-of-the-art technology solutions for the globalized economic multi-verse that is working and shaping today’s most crucial and diverse industry needs.




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The Key to Transacting with Trust In the “Selfie” Generation


There are 70 million of them in the U.S. alone. They are “digital natives,” who grew up with the Internet and are fluent in mobile technology and social media. They spend a whopping $600 billion annually – and growing. They are forecasted to account for 35% of spending by 2030. They are set to outnumber Baby Boomers next year and are the largest generation in the workforce. They take, on average, one selfie every day and account for 55% of selfies on social media.

They are the deeply studied, oft-maligned Millennial generation. Pew Research has defined this group as those born from 1981-1996.

Studies also show that they keep their mobile phone with them all the time (not more than 3 feet away) and they love their cameras. One survey found that 68% of Millennials would rather snap a picture than type something into their device. They have big ideas of how to use the smartphone camera to make transactions easier.

Millennials are using smartphones daily to conduct their business, whether it’s shopping, making payments or banking. And in the sharing economy, they are using popular apps to use these services via their smartphone. Some reports show they are deciding to who to do business with based on their mobile capabilities. This should be a wake-up call for all industries wanting to tap into this influential demographic. Even the Olympics has adopted this technology for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic games utilizing facial recognition.

Let’s look at banking for moment. An infographic from the American Bankers Association shows that banks that offer digital services are better positioned to reach Millennials. In fact, Millennials are three times more likely to open a new account with their phone vs. in person. Consumers commonly think that opening a bank account is a cumbersome process – so many forms to fill out and documentation to provide. But while banks collect more information then ever before and have more steps during onboarding due to regulatory compliance, they can provide a better digital experience to a generation used to signing up for new accounts via mobile devices.

Millennials prefer taking a picture for data capture. More than half have deposited a check by taking a picture with their smartphone. They are optimistic that mobile capture will be part of all mobile transactions in the next five years. Whether that’s for banking, or a car rental service, or a visit to the doctor’s office, the ease of snapping a photo is vastly superior to filling out long, tedious forms. It’s not surprising then why so many users of Acuant’s AcuFill solution report they save time and impress customers with a streamlined and modern on-boarding process.

Beyond mobile capture, Millennials also prefer to validate and verify their identities via facial recognition. The introduction of the iPhone X and its facial recognition technology became the first real mainstream use of this concept. Acuant’s FRM (Facial Recognition Match) technology can make this an option for just about any online transaction. The process can be as easy as taking a selfie and knowing in seconds whether there is a match, or the transaction should be flagged for fraud.

One common form of facial recognition fraud is using a photo to assume someone else’s identity – a face spoof attack. Acuant FRM uses a liveness test to prevent this and ensure that it’s a live person taking that selfie. This type of verification can be useful in two scenarios – when you want to be sure that the ID is valid and that the person matches the photo on the ID, and when you already know this customer and only need to know that this person is actually the person who holds the account.

When appealing to and engaging Millennials, it is important for businesses to provide a seamless, modern experience that meets their digital expectations. At the same time, that user experience must be balanced against risk – and how much risk you are willing to accept.



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