Digital Id in Canada
Another in my series on CBC Radio’s Ottawa Morning. In this segment, host Halle Cotnam and I discuss the growing efforts to bring digital identities to Canada.
- Read the article that sparked this conversation on CBC News.
Who are you?
Identity is one of those problems that seems simple but then you start to dig in and…wow.
The idea is simple: provide a way for Canadians to prove who they are for some online interactions.
Of course, the devil is in the details. “Who” you are changes in relation to the type of interaction. If you need to provide your driver’s license for insurance purposes, you don’t also want to share your health records. Yes, all of these data points link back to you but any system must also provide you the ability to control their use.
The good news? Everyone seems to agree that Canadians need an “official” digital identity. In fact, the Digital ID & Authentication Councial of Canada (DIACC) recently conducted a survey and about 75% of respondents were comfortable with the idea of a digital identity for government, health care, and financial interactions.
That makes sense as digital IDs are pitched as a way to streamline a lot of the hassle around these interactions.
The core challenge is political will. Every level of government, some key non-government organizations, and even a few private sector organizations need to be on-board for this to work. That’s going to take federal legislation.
Will that in place, the technical work will be difficult but there are enough examples of large scale projects around the world ot make this work.
Here are some links and references that might help inform you on the issues around digital identities:
- DIACC White Paper - The Economic Impact of Digital Identity in Canada
- Australia’s digital identity project
- Estonia’s eID card
- Estonia’s mobile app for identity, Smart-ID
- Canadian’s banks Verified.me identity efforts
- the federal Privacy Commissioner’s 2018-2019 annual report, “Privacy Law Reform: A Pathway to Respecting Rights and Restoring Trust in Government and the Digital Economy - Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada”
- WIRED on the USA’s recent efforts to standardize how traditional IDs are issued, Real ID
- TransUnion on digital ID in Canada
- the Canadian Bankers Association whitepaper, “Canada’s Digital ID Future - A Federated Approach”