Who you are, where you come from, what work you do and where you live are some of the most common questions being asked when meeting a stranger for the first time. And based on these few questions one will form an opinion of your identity and most likely relate to you accordingly.
You can learn even more about the identity by looking at their digital footprint. A quick search on Google, Facebook, Twitter or the like and you have access to a terrifying amount of additional data that defines that person. These technological giants touch almost every part of our existence and continuously harvest vast amounts of data about each one of us. Stitching all these touch points together, they form an accurate profile of your identity without you even being aware of it.
This fuels the never-ending debate between what is personal information and what is private, what is intimate and what is public knowledge? Most of us believe that all our personal data should be regarded as private but with the same conviction we hand out hundreds of business cards with personal information.
Identity is basically defined as whatever makes an entity definable, unique and recognizable. Every person has multiple traits that define them and it is the collective sum of all these traits that makes each one of us a uniquely definable giving each person a unique identity of our own. To manage all of this, governmental identity schemes will assign a unique identity number to each of their citizens.
It is also important to ask the question: What influences the identity? There are obviously some absolutes (such as place of birth, family, gender, etc), but in many cases people find their identity in their association, religion, education and even their property or assets. There are many benefits in having an official and verifiable identity. According to the World Bank, the main advantages for citizens can be summarised as electoral participation, educational opportunities, health and social welfare, banking and economic inclusion.
Trust is however the most valuable attribute of any identity and it is estimated that 94% of all identity verifications are based on visual verification. In other words, if the person looks like the picture presented in the identity document, it is assumed to be the same person. This is why in most cases, proof of identity requires a copy of the identity document and this is exactly where the risk of identity fraud starts.
It is virtually impossible for any individual to “own” his or her identity, if there are hundreds of organisations who deals with a person in his lifetime, each requiring copies of this identity. The question also remains, how much trust can be associated with this copy if the identity document, even if a Commissioner of Oath certifies it.
The Ideco Identity-as- a-Service (IDaaS) ecosystem offers next generation identity assurance, designed to deliver fraud-proof trusted identity authentication, confirmed with a digital certificate of authenticity in seconds. When this service is used at point of contact with the customer, full trust in the identity is established without any privicy risk to the owner of the identity.