Mobile ID: The citizen is in control

Mobile ID applications can make government ID Cards more secure and enhance their functionality, says Rob Haslam of HID Global

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Mobile ID: The citizen is in control Haslam: ID programs that utilise a user’s own mobile device offer many potential benefits.
By  Rob Haslam Published  June 4, 2017

Secure mobile identity is becoming a reality for government-issued credentials. Once a futuristic concept, mobile IDs are now fundamentally changing the way governments and citizens interact.

A mobile ID is essentially a government-issued identification credential that is securely provisioned on to a citizen or resident’s smartphone that can be used in lieu of, or, as a complement to a printed driver’s license or government identification card. Mobile IDs can be verified, by authorised parties, using a variety of devices, including phones and tablets.

Putting the Citizen in control of their Identity

We believe that participation in a secure mobile ID solution for government credentials should be voluntary, and citizens should control whether and how their mobile government credential is released to an authority or private enterprise. This is an important message as the move towards mobile IDs is gaining momentum worldwide.

Transparency is key to answer citizens’ concerns, as they want to know that they have choices and that their personal information is protected and confidential. Consumers of both free enterprise and government services should have the option to conveniently use their smartphone as driver’s licences or other identity-based documents. This can be especially true in today’s age where data breaches are making front-page news.

With that in mind, HID Global has developed a platform for mobile IDs with the infrastructure to allow a citizen’s identity to be safely provisioned onto a smartphone without fear that it can be copied or hacked. The unique HID goID platform, enables citizens to protect their privacy and only release information that is relevant for the specific situation, controlling when and how much information is to be shared or made available to someone requesting to see their license.

Mobile ID technology is an absolute game-changer in the field of government identification for many reasons. We recommend the top ten ways in which this breakthrough has the potential to affect the relationship between Government and its citizens:

Smartphones are an integral part of people’s lives globally

According to Statista, over a third of the world’s population is projected to own a smartphone; which is an estimated total of 2.6 billion smartphone users this year. And according to Ericsson, this number is estimated to rise to 6.1 billion by 2020, indicating that citizens will be relying on their smart devices to carry out an increasing number of transactions.

A single source for a valid identity offers unprecedented convenience

Smartphone capabilities are increasing all the time, improving citizens’ experiences — and heightening expectations — in all areas of their lives. It is a natural next step that a citizen will expect to be able to carry their identity documents on a mobile phone.

An opportunity for expanded, personalised engagement

Mobile IDs make it possible for governments to have a closer relationship with citizens. Rather than limiting interaction to law enforcement, motor vehicle agencies, or border patrol officials, the mobile ID opens up a whole new array of personal interaction between citizens and government through remote services, communications and information.

Improved security to combat increasing identity threats

For citizens, a mobile smartphone containing their identification credentials can add additional layers of security to their identity document (eg. PIN protection, password protection, biometrics or additional secure tokens). For law enforcement, the challenge of identifying identity documents from multiple jurisdictions can be reduced by the improved functionality afforded by secure devices.

More control over private information

With mobile IDs on a smartphone, citizens can control when and how much information is shared in a given situation, allowing them to better protect their privacy.

Additional Safeguards for Law Enforcement

In the case of law enforcement, the relationship between police and citizens often begins by answering the question: ‘Who is this citizen whom I am approaching?’ Mobile IDs provide secure retrieval of real-time accident, crime or insurance information, though a transaction can be initiated from a safe distance. This may spell the future of improved police/citizen interactions, with officers potentially having greater ability to assess a situation before approaching the individual.

Improved efficiency through remote issuance and revocation

For government agencies, mobile IDs will allow them to do their jobs better and easier. This technology allows citizens to update their information remotely without coming into the central office and combating long lines. At the same time, governments can issue, revoke or change IDs more efficiently, securely and quickly.

Improved functionality and revenue streams

Mobile IDs open the door for Governments to offer new services and functions to their citizens. This not only has the advantage of increasing citizen demand for the mobile ID, but potentially derives new revenue streams for the authorities for premium-level service options. Businesses too will potentially pay for increased efficiencies such as the ability to authenticate and read mobile driver’s licenses over the phone.

Verified online transactions

Mobile IDs allow citizens to identify themselves securely on third party websites and applications directly from their smartphone (eg. a person might want to prove who they are to a seller on an auction website or confirm their identity to a potential buyer for their car). Thye will now be able to easily and securely verify their identity, both online and offline.

Increased likelihood that proper identification is readily available

When asked what item you would return home to collect if forgotten, most people would answer their smartphone. (Far fewer would say the wallet or purse.) With their mobile identity securely stored on a smartphone, this information is more likely to be readily available for verification with authorities. When you also add that mobile ID’s enable the citizen to carry multiple ID’s in one place, you can anticipate that identities will be ready and available for use with much greater regularity.

Rob Haslam is Vice President and Managing Director, Government ID Solutions, HID Global.

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