Generally speaking, digital identity refers to the digitized information that exists about us online. A digital identity is made up of data that can be tied to an individual – for example, an email address or a social security number.
Many of us use our digital identities every single day. Simply by logging into a social network, we are using an email address and a password (or other digital identifiers and authentication methods), to confirm that we as a physical human are the rightful owner of that social media account.
The challenge is how to secure and simplify those identities. Each individual could easily have 100+ accounts online.
Many governments and commercial organizations have developed digital dossiers or ‘digital ID wallets’ that contain information about one unique person. Rather than an individual having to create a digital identity with every website or service provider, a digital wallet enables that individual to share only the necessary data each time, while securely proving to the organization that they are who they say they are.
Ultimately, a digital identity that can be securely linked to a physical person is a fundamental right of individuals living in a digital world. There are many ways of managing and asserting a digital identity. But almost everyone needs one.
The uses of digital identity are far-reaching and can range from asserting your identity when accessing financial services online, to applying for benefits or other government services, and much more.
Digital identity is an area of huge global growth. According to research from McKinsey, countries extending full digital ID coverage to their citizens could unlock value equivalent to 3 to 13 percent of GDP by 2030.
How Does Digital Identity Work?
A digital identity requires a completely unique identifier – such as an email address, a driver’s license number or a passport number – to bind digital information to a real, physical person. A name wouldn’t work, for example, because they’re rarely unique.
Authentication is then required so that the real physical person can use their identifier as evidence of owning their digital identity. If someone knows their email address or other identifier and can authenticate themselves successfully, then in theory only that person can assert their digital identity.
Passwords have traditionally been used for authentication, but they are no longer fit for purpose as they’re not secure and cause friction for the user. This is where biometric authentication comes in.
Biometric Authentication For Digital Identity
Authentication technology is crucial for assuring that only the right person can assert their digital identity. But choosing the right authentication technology is just as important.
Using iProov’s Genuine Presence Assurance, digital identity providers can ask citizens to complete a brief facial biometric scan to onboard remotely. This assures that an individual matches the image in their photo ID and confirms that the user is genuinely present (it is the same person carrying out the face scan).
Each time they return to use their digital identity, they can authenticate themselves with maximum level of assurance. If they do not match the biometric template created during onboarding or a threat is detected by iProov’s system, use of the digital identity would be denied. Identities are precious and must be protected from criminals. You can learn more about Genuine Presence Assurance here.
Any successful digital identity solution will require simple, secure onboarding and authentication of users. Best-in-class authentication from iProov is key for digital identity because it:
- Improves security and limits breaches
- Improves user experience – maximizing uptake
- Makes digital identity scalable
Ultimately, a digital identity that can be securely linked to a physical person is a fundamental right of individuals living in a digital world. There are many ways of managing and asserting a digital identity. But almost everyone needs one – and choosing the right authentication technology to facilitate it is crucial.
Learn More About Digital Identity