Daily Archives: Mar 19, 2020

Creation of the first National Digital Identity Laboratory

TORONTO, GATINEAU March 19, 2020 – The Digital ID and Authentication Council of Canada (DIACC) is pleased to announce a collaborative partnership with Canada’s cybersecurity cluster, In-Sec-M, to create the first national digital identity lab.

Leveraging the strengths of their respective members, the two organizations have begun to identify and enumerate the requirements for the future laboratory, in addition to building a community of interest that will derive value from such a venture.

As an independent not-for-profit entity focused on providing value to the public and private sectors, the Digital Identity Laboratory is being established in accordance with principles of openness, transparency and good governance to maintain the highest level of market neutrality.

When operational, the Laboratory will allow innovative Canadian organizations to test and certify their digital identity solutions.

“The Digital ID Lab benefits all Canadians by promoting adoption of user-centric digital identity solutions by public and private organizations,” said Pierre Roberge, President of the Digital ID Laboratory of Canada.

An identity ecosystem of leaders from both the public and private sectors are already contributing to the development and support of the Digital Identity Laboratory. “To all parties who wish to contribute, shape, use and support the lab – we ask you to please come forward to connect your interests” added Roberge.

“In-Sec-M is a Canadian leader in cybersecurity,” noted DIACC President Joni Brennan. “We are looking forward to working together toward building an innovation ecosystem that serves as a model for the rest of the world.”

DIACC and In-Sec-M share similar values and look forward to collaborating on digital identity across Canada, and abroad.

“Both organizations value very strong digital identity in order to protect Canadians and their personal data,” said Antoine Normand, President, In-Sec-M. “We also share a similar approach, fostering public-private partnerships in digital identity, and we want to see Canada become an international leader in innovation for privacy protection and digital identity.”

About the Digital ID and Authentication Council of Canada (DIACC) (www.diacc.ca)
The DIACC is a non-profit coalition of public and private sector leaders committed to developing a Canadian digital identification and authentication framework to enable Canada’s full and secure participation in the global digital economy. The DIACC was created as a result of the
federal government’s Task Force for the Payments System Review and members include representatives from both the federal and provincial levels of government as well as private sector leaders.

About In-Sec-M (www.insecm.ca)
The Canadian cluster of the cybersecurity industry, In-Sec-M is a non-profit organization that strives to promote the cybersecurity industry, as well as increase the innovation, commercialization and growth capabilities of businesses in the field. Founded in 2017, the organization has been recognized by the Governments of Quebec and Canada as a Cybersecurity Excellence Centre.

About the Digital Identity Laboratory of Canada (www.didlab.ca)
The Digital Identity Laboratory (DIDLab) is a Canadian non-profit organization that brings together public and private entities in order to accelerate the adoption of user-centric digital identity solutions by promoting compliance and interoperability components.

Digital Identity Offers a Business Continuity Roadmap to Reduce the Impact of COVID-19 in Canada

by Matthew Unger, CEO, iComply

For most Canadians today, physical human interaction is required to complete most major financial transactions. Many of Canada’s largest banks, insurance companies, real estate agencies, mortgage brokers, credit unions, and financial advisors may not be able to offer an alternative to face-to-face meetings, physical paperwork, or agents who move quickly from one in-person meeting to the next.

We are currently in a very interesting time in history. In the past month, governments have announced over $1T USD in economic stimuli, the U.S. Federal Reserve dropped interest rates to zero, reported cases of COVID-19 are multiplying 10X every two weeks, and the stock market saw the worst single-day decline since Black Monday in 1987. Economically speaking, the last thing we can afford to do as a society is to stop working.

Many industries have not yet overcome barriers such as processes driven by legacy systems and are still doing business primarily in face-to-face channels. However, the rise of COVID-19 is causing a global shift in mindsets towards social distancing, remote work, and web conferencing. Previously, industries that relied on armies of agents, advisors, or consultants to conduct business—now, many of these businesses are seeking to fast-track their digital transformation in order to survive.

Yet, for many businesses, the challenge of changing their ways is real. Real estate agents and mortgage brokers still physically attend meetings—which increases their own risk of exposure, not to mention that of their clients. In only a matter of weeks, the agents on the front lines in these industries are experiencing a new trend—the same clients who used to value in-person meetings no longer want to meet. Clients know their agent runs a busy schedule with dozens of meetings every week—long enough to be contagious without showing symptoms.

“By leveraging tools such as digital identity verification, digital signatures, liveness detection, and ongoing user authentication, Canada’s professional and financial service providers can do a lot to make a difference.”

– Matthew Unger

Businesses are starting to take action – closing their doors to mitigate COVID-19, at the expense of their own bottom line. Last week, firms such as HSBC in New York closed their offices to all events or external meetings. Financial service providers in Canada have prioritized the wellbeing of their staff and clients to minimize the spread of the outbreak. However, based on their size and complexity, many traditional institutions have found it cost-prohibitive or risky to completely migrate over to digital-first systems. As a result, many still lack resources needed to effectively roll out digital onboarding—much less ongoing user identity authentication.

Medical experts anticipate that COVID-19 will continue its rapid global spread, and Health Canada has recommended a number of community-based measures. While potential vaccines have been reported, they are not expected to reach the market for up to a year. It is likely that such precautions will have a major impact on any business that relies on face-to-face meetings. Clients will refuse meetings in favour of online calls, digital onboarding, and digital document signing.

How will you buy your next home? Secure your next mortgage? Open a bank account? In the event a Canadian needs to settle the estate of a loved one, how will self-isolation be handled for elderly counter-signatories and meetings with family tax and estate professionals?

Many back-office administration teams in Canada have already moved to remote work or rotating their teams for one week onsite, one week offsite. Should containment measures increase, this will not be enough. Instead, back-office and compliance teams will need to be able to securely complete their tasks offsite while working from home.

While health care professionals and healthtech companies are working around the clock to solve this global crisis, we should consider our own daily routines, both personally and professionally, to identify how we can make a positive change for the benefits of our clients’ privacy, security, and—with concerns surrounding COVID-19—even their personal wellbeing.

The traditional ‘wet signature’ meeting culture in the financial industry requires a change in both mindset and in the adoption of technology. By leveraging tools such as digital identity verification, digital signatures, liveness detection, and ongoing user authentication, Canada’s professional and financial service providers can do a lot to make a difference.

About the Author
Matthew Unger is founder and CEO of iComply. After founding a $42M wealth management practice, Matthew exited by age 26 and co-founded a practice management platform for wealth managers which was acquired by Planswell in 2015. Matthew has studied Digital Transformation and Business Strategy in Finance at MIT and is a global expert in digital identity, KYC and AML regulation.