What is digital ID?

What is digital ID?

Since the Bank of America issued the first wallet-sized plastic card in 1958, there have many changes to the card including improvements in printing quality, embossing, signature panels, security elements and magnetic stripes.  But one thing has not changed:  the size.  It has always been, and always will be, 85.6mm x 53.98mm, a size defined by the ISO and International Electrotechnical Commission.  For durability, plastic is an ideal material, and the size fits conveniently into the wallet.

But what happens when people no longer carry wallets?  The move to virtual cards is nothing new, and adoption has accelerated among younger generations who do not want to carry multiple plastic cards, or simply don’t use the fashion accessories (ie. wallet) to store them in.

The plastic card has become the virtual card: no longer something to hold onto physically, but simply a way to connect to the systems that you need access to.

According to Interac, “digital ID is a way to verify who we are online securely in a manner which safeguards personal information.  Digital ID is an extension of current physical ID documents such as driver’s licences, passports and bank cards, but which offers individuals more privacy and control over how their information is used and shared, while at the same time eliminating threats associated with physical ID documents such as theft and counterfeiting.“

Whenever you use an ID of any kind, you are proving your identity, and thereby asserting your legal right to:

1) be where you are

2) have what you have, or

3) do what you are doing.

Plastic cards remain highly useful documents to prove a person’s identity, and were designed initially for humans to be involved in the verification process. Verification of the ID was done by sight and touch.  As technology developed, the cards were enhanced to include ability to be verified by machine as well.    With the proliferation of connectivity (ie. smartphones and internet everywhere), it has become substantially cheaper, faster, and much more reliable to verify a person’s ID via a machine rather than by another human.

The digital ID enables users to access services that have traditionally required a higher level of security and trust.  In addition, a digital ID can be much more easily protected and controlled than a plastic ID.  The user can cancel it any time, and choose how their personal information is used in a much more precise way.

Digital IDs are much more useful in the world we live in.  It is convenient, secure and integrates seamlessly into our daily lives.

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