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Your future identity is digital


Your future identity is digital

Ian Kerr

Postal operators around the world are trying to cash in on their trusted status to build digital identity solutions.

Posts are promoting the privacy and convenience advantages of digital identity solutions. With these solutions, the post becomes a digital repository of citizens' identity details. If we can't trust the post to keep this information secure, then who could we trust? Amazon? Google? Let's be frank - these companies would love to have even more information about all of us.

Australia Post, Swiss Post, and a German consortium are all working on digital identity solutions.

Australia Post Digital Id

Australia Post's new Digital iD service allows people to verify their identity information once, so they can then easily prove who they are online and in person through the platform's smartphone app. This removes the need to repeatedly use several forms of identity to prove who they are or have numerous passwords to access products and services.

"Our new Digital iD platform gives people more control over the personal data they share with organisations. For example, most people hand over their driver's licence to prove they can legally go to a bar, but all that is needed is a name and birth date – not that information plus your full residential address."
- Australia Post Executive General Manager Trusted eCommerce Services, Andrew Walduck

Australia Post has already integrated Digital iD with its own products and services including MyPost Parcel Collect and Mail Redirection.

Australia Post partners with Digital Transformation Agency

A new partnership between Australia Post and the federal government's Digital Transformation Agency has been announced.

The partnership will focus on digital identity.

Under the terms of the agreement, Australia Post will integrate its own identity technology into the Commonwealth’s Digital Identity Framework, recently relaunched as GovPass.

The federal Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation, Angus Taylor, said if the new digital identity project is successful then the digital ID could be used to access not just government services online, but other online private sector services such as banking.

Swiss Post and SwissID

Swiss Post has partnered with Swiss train company SBB to launch the SwissID joint venture.

SwissID is set to become the standardised digital identity used across Switzerland.

With SwissID, users can access a variety of online services via a single secure login instead of using a number of different usernames and passwords. It's free to use for private users.

Since SwissID meets various security requirements, the service will be suitable for such services as e-government and electronic voting applications.

The service is now available to the Swiss public.

Postbank (Germany) and Daimler get in on the act

A group of German and European companies (including Allianz, Daimler, Deutsche Bank with Postbank) is developing a cross-industry registration, identification and data platform called verimi - a combination of the words “ verify” and “me”.

The platform will go live with an online digital “master key” (Single-Sign-On) at the turn of the year 2017/2018.

It has been purposely designed as a cross-industry, open platform that application partners or other initiatives can join and, together with the founding partners, can help to expand and grow.

The “master key” requires users to log onto the platform once using their name and a password. They can then access participating companies’ applications that are already connected to the platform at that point in time. Logging onto a new application will no longer require personal data to be laboriously entered each time. Nor will users require several passwords for different websites.

verimi complies with the European Regulation on Privacy and Electronic Communications (“ ePrivacy”).

Personalised advertising and content is also in the mix for verimi.

More features will gradually be added to the registration and identification platform, for instance digital access to authorities (eGovernment) or digital payment and financial services. 

So far, so similar

These three digital identity offerings have much in common. Personalised advertising (via verimi) is possibly the only feature other digital identity solutions don't have.

It's easy to imagine so-called "digital natives" embracing the digital identity concept. It will be a harder sell to convince privacy conscious citizens to sign up. 

The other challenge will be for the posts to make money from these services. Will it be free for users to sign up? What sort of set up fees will there be for government and the private sector? Will government, banks, e-commerce merchants and the rest have to pay a fee per verification? 

One thing is for sure: you must never, never, never lose your mobile phone.