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Stephan Wolf, CEO of Global Legal Entity Identifier Foundation (GLEIF) shares an overview of his session at the recent MEF CONNECTS Personal Data: ID & AUTH where he discussed how “Legal Entity Identifiers” can help companies prove their legitimacy when contacting their customers.

The many powerful presentations delivered during the morning session at MEF Connect ID & Auth, all seemed to convey the same important message. Trusted organizational ID in telecoms – as in the ability for companies to prove their legitimacy when making voice calls or sending text messages to customers – is widely acknowledged as the holy grail for companies and operators who wish to prevent phone-based fraud.

One presenter made the observation that it is critical to authenticate organizational identity before personal identity assurances can be made to call or message recipients in this context. Yet despite wide-ranging industry recognition that there is a desperate need for a ‘silver bullet’ universal identity management solution, there is still much discussion to be had and development to de done in the quest to find it (but find it they must… it was interesting to hear that voice-channel scams are such a problem in the US that operators are being driven to find a common solution by the threat of mandated action if they don’t).

Against this backdrop, it is important to note the need for any such organizational identity management solution to be decentralised. In order to support mass trust and adoption, there should be no barriers: no costs to data users, no licensing requirements and no restrictions on publishing, copying, distributing, transmitting, citing or adapting identifiers and associated reference data.

Openness and accessibility are key.

At the heart of any identity solution is an identifier. And this is where GLEIF can bring immediate value to the telecoms industry, in the form of the Legal Entity Identifier (LEI). A life-long identifier that is owned by the respective legal entity, the LEI is an ISO standard and connects to reference data associated with the legal entity owner on a public database hosted on the GLEIF website.

Its creation was supported by G20 leaders in a quest to create a global legal entity identifier which uniquely identifies parties to financial transactions and nearly 2.5 million LEIs have been issued to date globally.

While the LEI is firmly established as a heavily mandated and widely implemented identifier in the financial space, it is industry agnostic and offers huge potential to identity management applications in other verticals, including telecoms. It provides an immediately available, open and standardized identifier and associated infrastructure that can be harnessed for use in any identity management system. The silver bullet for telecoms? Potentially.

While the LEI can offer absolute assurance on the identity of an organization within the real world, GLEIF has also created a pioneering new form of digitized organizational identity called the verifiable LEI (vLEI). The vLEI concept is simple: It is the secure digital counterpart of a conventional LEI. In other words, it is a digitally trustworthy version of the 20-digit LEI code which is automatically verified, without the need for human intervention.

The vLEI meets the global need for automated authentication and verification of legal entities, their authorized representatives and delegates of that organization, across a range of industries. By creating the vLEI, GLEIF has answered an urgent and unmet need to lead a multi-stakeholder effort to create a new global ecosystem for organizational digital identity.

By harnessing the power of the LEI and vLEI, operators and companies can ensure that phone calls, texts, emails and other forms of digital communication originating from authorized representatives (or devices) of an organization – or any delegate of that organization – can be instantly verifiable.

Organizations that engage in outbound calling and text messaging can provide recipient customers and prospects with digitized proof that both their organization and the communication itself are authentic, having been digitally signed with trusted vLEI credentials. Want to know more? Please visit the GLEIF website.

Stephan Wolf

CEO Global Legal Entity Identifier Foundation (GLEIF).

Watch MEF CONNECTS Personal Data and Identity: ID & AUTH in Full

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