One digital identity that can be used in the physical world and the digital world, that’s the dream. It’s been difficult to achieve for reasons too numerous to list, but SecureKey Technologies has received $27 million in funding and buy-in from Canadian financial institutions to make it a reality in the great white north.
The goal is to make the online digital identity similar and as trustworthy as the physical identity scenario while also making identity in the real world a better experience, says Andre Boysen, chief identity officer at SecureKey. “We want to replicate the positive aspects of in-person identity vetting while also making it better,” he explains.
SecureKey has been working with Canadian banks for years to enable federated identity. Citizens can use online banking credentials to also access government services. Teaming up with SecureKey on this funding round and the project are financial institutions: BMO Bank of Montreal, Bank of Nova Scotia, CIBC, Desjardins, Royal Bank of Canada and TD.
The goal with this new service is to build on that and enable a holistic view of identity, one that is both physical and digital. That starts with working with financial institutions that will be the trust anchors in this identity scheme. Boysen says. The goal then is to bring in the telecommunications companies then the provinces.
Eventually individuals will be able to use the same credentials for banking, to buy alcohol and file taxes. This will also be done in a privacy enhancing way so that no one relying party see more information than necessary. For example, if the credentials is sued to get into a bar it won’t show a date of birth but a digitally signed photo saying they are legal drinking age, Boysen says.
The new service will also use the heavily hyped Blockchain technology to enable the exchange of personal data. For example, the permission-based system would enable a bank to release the digital documents necessary for someone to be approved to rent an apartment. Banks would also charge a fee to the business requesting the information.
SecureKey also announced that founder and chairman Greg Wolfond has returned as CEO to lead the company’s collaboration with the nation’s largest financial services providers, continue the growth of SecureKey Concierge, and drive the next-generation identity and digital asset sharing initiative.