29 April 2021
From implementing tech policy at one of the largest American tech companies, to fighting identity fraud at iProov; the young Canadian who read TechCrunch every night is now sitting at the FIDO Alliance table. Anthony Lam, Senior Product Manager at iProov, has always been passionate about tech policy and he’s bringing that passion to iProov. Anthony is now representing cloud-based face verification and working with the leaders in the identity space: FIDO Alliance.
How would you describe your journey to iProov?
I’ve always been a geek about technology. I used to read up on the latest technology blogs and TechCrunch was my most visited website in one year. During university, an incredible role opened up in the policy team at a big American tech company. So I applied, I got accepted, and I just absolutely fell in love with the world of tech policy. I realized tech policy was always behind technology. Technology always comes first, but tech policy cares about the people. Tech policy is the one that regulates and says, no, you can’t do this to citizens, you can’t take all their data and sell it. Tech policy brings ethics to innovation. A few months into the job I realized I knew nothing about technology but wanted to be in a tech role. When I looked at the roles that were available to somebody who didn’t have a tech background, Product seemed to be a great fit. It was sort of a sweet spot between the commercial, the technical and also the policy.
I moved from Canada to London during Brexit, so I was used to working in EU policy and I was quite familiar with the EU world. When Brexit happened, there was an opportunity for the UK to redefine a lot of their terms, renegotiate some of their contracts and their digital portfolio. I noticed cybersecurity, and biometrics specifically, was a space that was very lowly regulated. This was exciting for me and I wanted to get in on it. So I started writing about cybersecurity and that’s when I came across iProov.
What attracted you to iProov?
During Brexit there was a lot happening in tech legislation and internet safety. Then when the coronavirus pandemic hit in March 2020 a lot of companies were also moving remote and the concept of identity fraud was picking up. As mentioned, I love to read up on cybersecurity and I came across a video interview in Startup London, where the CEO of iProov was being interviewed and I fell in love with his passion for making the internet a safer place. And so I Googled roles at iProov and saw a Product Manager role had opened up and I was like, oh, hell yeah!
Nearly a year has passed since I joined the Product team at iProov and I’m in a company where it’s all happening. We’re leaders in a space that people don’t know a lot about. There’s a chance to educate and inform people. From the policy side, we get to establish what that protection looks like. We’re protecting people from being defrauded and hacked. The work we do at iProov is to make the Internet a safer place – that’s our company mission. We’re very driven by that mission and our work with FIDO stems from that.
Tell us a bit about your work with FIDO Alliance!
FIDO Alliance is an industry association focused on authentication standards and helping to reduce the world’s over-reliance on passwords. They’re leaders in the identity space. We joined the FIDO Alliance to help drive some of the standards they were trying to modernize around biometrics – specifically in face verification, where we’re leading the field.
We have nearly a decade of experience under our belt in fighting identity fraud, by using image verification for the face. We’re working with some of the most demanding organizations in the world – the Australian government, the UK Home Office, the NHS, the US Department of Homeland Security and the Singapore and Estonian governments. That experience is proving useful in our work with FIDO.
How is iProov working with FIDO Alliance on establishing standards in the industry, specifically face verification?
Upon joining, we took a leadership position in their working group dedicated to face verification – which is a subgroup of the overarching identity and verification working group. One of the benefits of being a company that produces face verification products is that we work with the latest technologies. So not only are we using the latest models and latest machine learning capabilities, we are also identifying the latest attack vectors that hackers across the world are using to break verification systems. So we’re bringing this expertise to the table when we’re helping to build standards. We’re focused on making sure these standards are modern and they take into account the things that would become fundamental tomorrow or in the future.
Speaking of the future of face biometric policy, what excites you about the future of iProov?
I mentioned at the start that I am in the sweet spot in the company – that also comes with a really big NDA!