By Uljana Belokrinicka, X Infotech

The demand for affordable digital solutions, accompanied by trusted security and protection of data, is growing globally. At the same time, the economic impact of digital identity is hard to overestimate. The McKinsey Global Institute performed research in this area and concluded that, “In the emerging economies, basic digital ID alone could unlock 50% to 70% of the full economic potential, assuming adoption rates of about 70%”. The Institute also stated that “By 2030, digital ID has the potential to create economic value equivalent to 6% of GDP in emerging economies on a per-country basis and 3% in mature economies, assuming high levels of adoption”.1 Simultaneously, modern technology promises an optimistic drop in costs for the supporting infrastructure and a reduction of implementation expenses. As a result, digital identity has become a market boosting tool, both for public and private sectors.

Ensuring the reduction of administrative load, growth of citizen streamlined activity and an increase in online generated turnover – digital identity is a priority focus for forward-thinking nations that wish to include citizens into a digital economy. Other essential noneconomic values created by digital identity go beyond quantitative measures; privacy, inclusion protection of rights, international harmonization and transparency.

2020 was a challenging year

This present year has demonstrated the importance of having the ability to create streamlined, remote authentication for the normal functioning of the economy. Spring 2020 was the worst, revealing the inferiority of traditional identification and authentication tools. The ability of governments and the financial sector to physically provide public services levels has brought into question. In some countries, renewal of Internet banking credentials became nearly impossible due to closure of all bank branches. Residents of other countries were unable to prolong their permits due to the closure of migration service branches. Elsewhere, citizens were unable to receive ID documents: passports, identity cards, driving licenses, social cards. Citizens of many countries were limited to exercise their voting right due to the postponement of elections. In other countries, patients experienced problems in accessing public health infrastructure for consultation and medical prescriptions. The current situation stresses the importance of digital remote access to services and the ability to get identified and authenticated.

The right to be recognized

Digital services are based on digital identity and authentication. The World Bank’s latest research, however, indicates that nearly 1 billion humans or one in seven people globally, do not have a legally recognized ID. Nearly 3.4 billion humans have limited ability to identify themselves in the digital world. The remaining 3.2 billion humans have limited access to efficient digital-identity-based online benefits2 This is a frustrating statistic in times of globally increasing digital interactions. And an even more terrifying one in times of pandemic situations, when the access to physicallyprovided services is significantly limited. One of the most serious obstacles for citizens is an inability to prove one’s identity and to get authenticated properly.

Digital times require digital measures

The important challenges for the digital economy, also pandemic- caused, include convenience and secure digital authentication. Future-oriented governments should seriously consider equipping their citizens with a universal, yet affordable, tool for single remote authentication that works for a range of public services. They may take after a banking sector where the implementation of digital- identity-based online solutions is accelerating.

Mobile scenario

Today, we are witnessing a continuous increase of mobile technology presence in our daily life – even in developing countries. More and more citizens worldwide go online using only their smartphone. The number of mobile users is expected to reach 3.8 billion by 2021 and will continue to grow.3 This shows that the main channel to approach the needs and challenges of digital identity should be mobile in nature; that it is a universal portal to digital reality and must be used as a trusted tool for authentication of digital identity. The winning scenario to respond to these growing market demands is a combination of easy user experience with the highest possible security.

At X Infotech we are proud to contribute to the economic growth in emerging markets with our Secure Mobile-ID strong user authentication solution, aimed at increasing citizen inclusion into the digital economy, as well as combating pandemic-created access limitations.

Secure Mobile-ID is a ‘must-have’ component for successful digital transformation. A strong mobile authentication solution is empowering banks and governments to provide digital-identity- based secure online services remotely. Simultaneously equipping end users with easy-to-use mobile applications to be used for authentication to:

• streamlined registration
• e-government services
• financial and banking services
• secure payments
• digital taxes
• online voting
• negotiation closing and electronic document signing • public health and social services
• visa access and border crossing

This secure PKI-cryptography-based universal solution is accompanied by Digital Onboarding for trusted biometric enrolment. Multifactor strong authentication is possible by combining what the user:

• IS (biometric data)
• HAS (mobile device)
• KNOWS (only-user-known PINs)

Secure Mobile-ID promises a fast and secure journey towards a new reality of mobile-empowered digital identity – welcoming in an era where everyone is able to be digitally identified and has access to basic social and economic services, independently from limitations caused by the absence of ID, a global pandemic or regional distance.

  • 1 https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/mckinsey-digital/our-insights/digital-identification-a-key-to-inclusive-growth
  • 2 https://id4d.worldbank.org/global-dataset/visualization
  • 3 https://www.statista.com/statistics/330695/number-of-smartphone-users-worldwide/

About the Author Steve Atkins

As well as the head of the Krowne Communications GmbH, Steve Atkins is also the Program Director for the Silicon Trust and editor of the program's VAULT magazine – covering secure ICs, cyber security, contactless, NFC, mobile, blockchain and cloud-based technologies. He is currently based in Berlin, Germany.

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