eID: the identity of the future

Securing the identity of users of online services has become a real challenge. However, enhancing security does not necessarily mean increased complexity. To this end, Morpho is designing solutions that will soon be part of our everyday lives.

"The concept of digital identity sprung up in response to a need for personalized access control to IT systems. This gradually extended to online sales and government or public administration services," said Cédric Huet, Marketing Strategy Manager, Morpho. "eID is therefore a digital identity solution for a specific user. It consists of multiple attributes, including biometric data and credentials such as a digital key that ensure strong user identification."

Accounting for over $3 billion in online revenues lost to fraud each year in North America alone, e-commerce is constantly on the lookout for solutions that will protect users and service providers against attempted identity theft.

Enrollment: the ideal opportunity
Today, the way banks or retailers are identifying a person is mainly by visually checking their identity document. As they cannot check the authenticity of documents or information provided, the online services they offer to users are therefore limited by the risk management processes they are using. "To improve this, Morpho proposes a 'high-quality' enrollment extending the usage of a legal ID medium featuring the 'match-on-card' technology and biometric readers. The person identity can then be checked without having to connect to a remote server for biometry matching. Such a method validates users' identity based on a unique piece of information, while complying with the laws in force," explained Cédric Huet. "Banks or retailers can then assign a derived eID to their customers, based on the public information such as their name and photo from the checked initial ID document."

Security, mobility, simplicity
With a potential of four billion people connected to the Internet via their mobile compared to only one billion via land lines, mobile network operators have become leading key players in virtual shopping. "They first meet their customers when opening a line and this is the perfect time to ask them if they want to create an eID, which can then be recorded in their SIM card secure area. This is instantly appealing to mobile users as they will be able to make safe and quick transactions via their mobile. For example, adding a four-digit code could be all that is required to confirm their online payment. Using their eID will make shipment of a purchase to their home easier and they won't have to provide any other personal data," explained Cédric Huet. "Operators on the other hand can offer an added value service, meaning they can move beyond the role of mere mobile Internet access providers."

With its proven expertise in biometrics and secure smart-card identity documents, Morpho is already in a position to distribute the eID. The first projects are already in the pipeline. One of them will make it possible for doctors making house calls to access confidential information such as health records via their mobile phones, and even send prescriptions to social security services on line.

With applications in healthcare, banking, phones and shopping, eID has a bright future ahead of it.