Digital identity in the spotlight – One World Identity Interview

Wednesday 25 July 2018 09:16 CET | Interview

The Paypers interviews Travis Jarae Founder & CEO at One World Identity (OWI) to find out more about convergence (unifying authentication, fraud, security) and digital identity.

OWI is an independent advisory firm focused on trust and the data economy. The company aims to help businesses, investors, and governments stay ahead of market trends so they can build sustainable, forward-looking identity-enabled products and strategies. OWI accomplishes this by building community and facilitating dialogue through the KNOW Conferences, as well as services the community with their educational content, news, media, and client services.

Could you please share with our readers a little bit about your professional background and tell us how you started working in the area of digital identity? How was One World Identity founded?

Prior to founding OWI, I led Googles KYC and identity verification team. During that time, I was tasked with verifying the next billion users — those who lack proper forms of identification in emerging markets. This effort in financial inclusion was meant to bring Google Payments to countries with no financial services infrastructure. From there, the idea of OWI was born, to be a facilitator between companies who specialize in identity, and companies who handle sensitive personal data. Today we are an events and advisory company specializing in identity, headlined by our annual KNOW Conference, which expands to Las Vegas in March of 2019.

Traditionally, fraud management, security and authentication activities in organizations have operated in siloes, leading to a separation between CISO and IT departments and Ops.

Why is it increasingly important to reconsider this approach? Do you see change happening and what are some main examples within corporates/banks and propositions of solution providers?

More silos within systems equal more points of failure. Think of the transfer of sensitive personally identifiable information within a company — a customer has an introduction to a company, before they are passed off to a salesperson, who is then passed off to an account manager. And all of this is overseen by a cybersecurity team. Each of these separate silos are all dealing with — and storing — the same sets of data, and they may not all be qualified to properly handle it. What we are seeing now is a revolution in Customer Identity & Access Management, and the advent of Trust & Safety as a concept and its own industry. Consider banks, such as Capital one and Wells Fargo, which have begun to realize identity needs to be a silo in and of itself, and any identity data needs to be handled accordingly — with care and respect.

Shifting our attention to digital identity. Currently, there are many ways of defining digital identity and there lacks a shared understanding of what digital identity means, and what a desirable outcome (‘Good ID’) should look like.

How should the ‘Good ID’ look like and operate? Can we find a global consensus on this?

There wont be a global consensus on this, because there are cultural differences and local needs that will need to be satisfied. Not to mention, different types of services and access will need more information as well. Any so-called Good ID would likely be settled on regionally, with a few distinct regions forming around the world. An ideal form of digital identity would leverage modern technology, best practices, trust, and the human element to satisfy needs. In our view, the best form of digital identity would include innovative tech protocols, accepted consensus, impenetrable security, scalability, and ease of access for all.

Large-scale digital transformations such as a universal ID (‘Good ID’) can create both opportunities and risks. Can you name just a few of these pros and cons?

The advantages of a universal ID are numerous: The ability to provide access to basic services to individuals such as healthcare or finance, for example. Consider the struggles faced in vaccinating individuals in a third-world country where there is no accepted form of identification: How can humanitarians know who has been properly vaccinated, and who has not? Even in the developed world, think of the disadvantages anyone faces if they do not have digital access to their credit card and bank account, and how it limits them from buying or selling goods. As technology improves, it will be easier for people to open and use a bank account directly from their phone, bringing down barriers to entry to the financial system.

How can governments, banks, big tech companies and retailers tackle developing customer identity centric approaches to identification and authentication, whilst reducing risk? What models and approaches do you see around the world?

In countries or regional blocs where telcos, banks and government have agreed to come together in a united ecosystem, they have come up with innovative ways to tackle these problems. Consider the Digital ID & Authentication Council of Canada, which uses blockchain for a triple blind system, ensuring trusted access to services where not much information changes hands. Systems where shared data increases security and also decreases user friction show considerable potential, because the institutions involved already have much of the information they need about a person to identify them.

About Travis Jarae

Travis Jarae is the Founder and CEO of One World Identity, an independent advisory firm focused on trust and the data economy. His career has centered on building identity products and solutions for ecommerce companies, financial services providers, and governments. Prior to One World Identity, Travis was responsible for identity verification strategy and operations at Google. Travis is a graduate of the University of South Florida with a degree in Finance.

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Keywords: Travis Jarae, One World Identity, digital identity, fraud, security, authentication, banks, big tech companies, digital identity schemes, retailers
Countries: World