NEW REPORT: Mueller Indictments Prompt Calls For National ID System

In the digital identity space, biometrics have become all the rage. In several markets around the world, biometric solutions are gaining ground among consumers, companies and government organizations.

These solutions could shift the way national security agencies in several countries operate, or force employers to change how they authenticate and identify their employees. And as of late, emerging solutions are increasingly calling the effectiveness of common legacy identification tools into question.

In the February edition of the Digital Identity Tracker™, PYMNTS looks at how modern identification solutions are being evaluated by both government agencies and workplaces around the world.

News From the Digital ID Space

As more millennials enter the workforce, passwords are going out the door.

A recent study found that three-quarters of millennials report preferring the use of biometric solutions to log into device applications, while older generations still prefer using complex passwords for authentication. Despite the potential for biometrics to grow, the same report found that concerns remain over the use of biometric data.

But workplaces aren’t the only entities considering a change to authentication or verification procedures. Several nations around the world are reconsidering their approach to security and national identity systems. In Greece, the government recently issued a new identity card for citizens, designed to meet much higher international security standards. The cards will work to store Greek citizens’ biometric data on a microchip and will allow visa-free travel to the U.S. as part of a visa waiver program.

Similarly, Nigeria is currently pursuing plans to upgrade its identity management infrastructure program, as part of an effort to both promote the nation’s economic development and improve security. The country’s vice president recently noted that efforts to upgrade its national ID program will cost an additional $1.3 billion USD.

Meanwhile, facial recognition solutions are being added to the biometric tools in India. The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) recently announced that it will use facial recognition solutions in addition to other biometric solutions, like fingerprint and iris scans. The solution will be used to help deliver government benefits to enrollees.

Social Security’s Role in Russian Meddling

The effectiveness of the U.S. national identification system is also being called into question following a big development in the special counselor’s ongoing investigation.

Earlier this month, special counsel Robert Mueller indicted a group of 13 Russian nationals over their alleged role in the 2016 presidential election. The named individuals and companies were charged with using stolen Social Security numbers, home addresses and birthdates of U.S. citizens to open bank accounts. Those accounts were then used to pay for political advertising, and to interfere with U.S. politics.

According to Ross Rustici, senior director of intelligence services for cybersecurity at Cybereason, the indictments should raise questions about the reliability of the U.S. Social Security number as an identifier.

For the February Digital Identity Tracker feature story, Rustici argued that years of breaches and compromises have rendered the Social Security number outdated as a national identifier. He discussed with PYMNTS why banks and financial institutions have limited ability to detect fraud early – and what biometrics solutions he sees as a potential replacement.

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    About the Tracker

    The Digital Identity Tracker™, powered by Socure, is a forum for framing and addressing key issues and trends facing the entities charged with efficiently and securely identifying and granting permission to individuals to access, purchase, transact or otherwise confirm their identities.