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10/09/2019 09:24 EDT | Updated 10/09/2019 09:24 EDT

The Opportunities and Obstacles of Digital ID

You walk up to your favourite brewpub, order your favourite craft beer, and – reflexively – reach for your ID. Shoot. You left your driver’s license in your other purse. Again. 

While our lives have become increasingly digital, the majority of our IDs are still plastic and even paper-based. According to a recent research study by Interac, six in ten Canadians have difficulty keeping track of their IDs. How much easier would it be if you could securely and conveniently access your most commonly used identity cards, such as your driver’s license and health card, via your mobile device? 

Almost eight in 10 Canadians don’t feel like they have a real handle on how their information is being used.

More and more, our information is stored and shared online. But if that makes you nervous, you’re not alone. Almost eight in 10 Canadians don’t feel like they have a real handle on how their information is being used. Digital ID has been billed as a way to increase convenience, but also to reduce the amount of personal data and information that needs to change hands on a daily basis. 

In partnership with Interac, here are three things to think about as we consider what a transition to digital IDs might look like. 

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Okay, we get it. Anything online feels hackable, right? But with secure technology such as tokenization and advanced encryption, as well as buy-in from government, our information doesn’t have to be. And let’s face it: using our physical ID cards at hotels or restaurants exposes us to all sorts of risks including fraud and identity theft.

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We just don’t have time anymore. How long have you waited in line to renew your passport? How far have you driven so that your driver’s license could be examined in person? According to the Digital Identity and Authentication Council of Canada, visiting offices in the flesh to show physical ID costs Canada $500 million in productivity a year, not to mention countless hours of boredom and frustration. So yes, that means that a variety of public and private sector organizations will have to get on board, but convenience and customer experience will prevailif done responsibly and in a trustworthy manner.

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Our IDs might not be fully digital, but we’ve managed to figure out a workaround. How many of us have taken a picture of our IDs at the request of an official? While six in 10 Canadians recognize that actions such as sharing a screenshot of a license or passport can come with risks, 45 per cent of us do it anyway. Why the disconnect? It’s just easier. Would you rather snap a picture and have it stored somewhere forever? Or, would you rather use that document within an established, safe and secure framework? 

A successful and safe transition to digital IDs can’t be done in a vacuum. Canadians won’t get on board without confidence that our privacy will be protected. 

The path forward is exciting. To learn more about digital IDs and how Interac could play a role, visit their website