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‘That the Digital Identity & Authentication challenge is right at the heart of the online experience shouldn’t be news to anyone in the industry. It’s evolution away from the much-maligned but still ubiquitous ‘user-name & password’ paradigm is, for many, long overdue but a workable, standardised and robust solution (or set of solutions) at scale still remains out of reach.

My esteemed guests on this MEF Webinar ‘How can the Identity & Access Management Industry help accelerate the evolution of an internet identity layer fit for the 21st century?’ talk about the positives and negatives of the current Identity and Authentication paradigm

I was joined by guests Judah Levine, the CEO of both HIP Consult & Mondato, Tech, Product, Strategy & Data Specialist Jessica Figueras and Julian Ranger, the CEO of digime and Board Member of MEF as we wrestle with the following questions;

  • Today’s Identity and Authentication paradigm including user-name/passwords/ social logins, data breaches etc, – what is wrong with it? – ‘…the (existing) system doesn’t work so well because its easy to hack with massive amounts of fraud and so the simplicity is undermined as we lose confidence  and trust in the system both from a consumer perspective as well as from service providers…’ – Judah Levine

if you ask a question about the intricacies of blockchain you’ll get as many answers as the number of individuals that you’re polling so it’s a promising path that is getting growing attention…

  • From a business perspective, what are the most crucial components or qualities that any globally ubiquitous IAM solution MUST have? – ‘…there needs to be a (sound) legal context around liability and consumer protection…providing support for that ‘relationship of trust’ and built-in transparency around what is being shared…’ – Jessica Figueras
  • What do developments like Self-Sovereign Identity with a distributed ledger/blockchain capability for identity attribute verification have to offer the industry and wider society and – very importantly – when might a workable framework evolve? – ‘…if you ask a question about the intricacies of blockchain you’ll get as many answers as the number of individuals that you’re polling so it’s a promising path that is getting growing attention…but I don’t think it’s going to be impactful in the near-term because it’s still very much in the experimental phase…’ – Judah Levine
  • Assuming that the political will can be summoned, what should governments and regulators do to help the industry given the inherent complexity of the IAM marketplace? – ‘…we can’t move forward until we get governments to change the way they provide source documents (for identity verification)…’ – Julian Ranger

Judah Levine of Mondato outlined his particular interest in this subject – ‘Mondato are a specialist advisory firm focused on Fintech and digital commerce generally. Identity verification – indeed the wider topic of identity management itself – can be seen as an enabler of, (but also the source of some of its friction), the evolution of digital transformation and the uptake of digital services…so Mondato’s particular interest in this topic is to try and understand, unpack and anticipate how it can best be addressed to enable more and more people to experience all that digital has to offer, which resonates even more strongly amid the unfortunate pandemic that we’re all dealing with currently’.

Jessica Figueras’ historic focus has been particularly on government policy and the politics associated with personal data and identity issues – ‘Digital identity has been an area of research interest to me for many years now…it’s really interesting to me now how this has become so much more a bit of enterprise plumbing for anyone who has something to ‘gatekeep’

It’s turned into a socieltal issue and this is something that we need to get to grips with right now as we are already going through an enormous transformation of our economies and societies as a result of what’s happening with COVID 19 but also with the rise in online life and the adtech economy in particular…and these trends are now coming together with digital identity at the centre…’.

Julian Ranger – enables an individual to hold a copy of all of their personal data – including all of their medical records, financial transactions, social posts etc – they own that data and provides a ‘consent stack’ that can send digital certificates that can be used by any business or government organisation prove that individual’s identity, but ONLY with that individual’s express consent.

‘The interesting thing for me is how we fundamentally move forward from…user-name/password…to something more convenient, more distributed and ensure that we’re only giving up the data we need to give up’.

Iain is a MEF Advisor and has, since 2012, worked extensively with mobile network operators across Europe and the Russian Federation to drive adoption and uptake of the GSMA’s Mobile Connect identity, RCS and Smart Cities initiatives. Prior to this, he ran third-party Messaging at Telefonica O2 UK from 2002 until 2010, working with Aggregators and Brands (Lloyds, ITV, C4, et al), driving the uptake of premium and bulk services and managing the issues of self regulation (PayForIT, a UK joint-MNO initiative), and subscriber protection.

If you are interested in finding out more about The PD&I Working Group contact Iain.

Iain McCallum

MEF Advisor