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Rethinking digital identity

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Massive cyber breaches and identity frauds are daily news. Users experience endless frustration with countless passwords and registration procedures. Governments suffer from poor online acceptance and merchants experience high fraud costs despite massive IT investments. Perhaps it is time to rethink the topic of identity. This paper argues that we should move from verifying the full ‘identity’ of a person or company to very specific ‘attribute verification’. This should be done not only for people and companies but also for devices, apps, bots and more. The paper advocates the use of intelligent data-driven authentication and a shift away from the current dependence on government-issued documents, faxes/utility bills, user ID/passwords and rigid two-factor procedures. It argues that the future should be based upon pseudonyms rather than full identification and will describe the very few occasions when full anonymisation is actually necessary. The paper proposes a federated model that connects the many current silos of organisations providing attributes with the many organisations that wish to use them, employing an open four-corner model instead of today’s point-to-point interconnections. Finally, it provides arguments why banks could and maybe should play a more active role in this space, notably to realise benefits for all in the emerging Open Banking and platform economy.
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Keywords: GDPR; attribute verification; authentication; bank-ID; eIDAS; four-corner model; identity; privacy; pseudonymity

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 March 2018

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  • Journal of Payments Strategy & Systems publishes peer-reviewed articles and case studies analysing best practice, emerging issues and new thinking in how to develop a profitable, customer-focused payments strategy. It examines major issues facing the corporate, wholesale and retail payments industry from a business, risk and operational perspective.

    Edited by renowned payments expert Alec Nacamuli and guided by an eminent Editorial Board, each quarterly 100-page issue provides practical, detailed analysis of developments and trends in the payments business, regulation, new entrants and technologies and how to bring them all together to define your payments strategy, as well as actionable advice and ‘lessons learned’ from fellow professionals on how payment processing systems can be leveraged to maximise profitability, security and efficiency and minimise risk. It contains no advertising and no advertorial.

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