We believe wholeheartedly that a secure global financial system must rely on biometric identity verification and authentication. It’s simply the best way to beat the fraudsters, hackers, and money launderers. We, therefore, need policy frameworks that incentivize investment and innovation in such solutions and encourage scaling across borders. As a result, we’re now starting to work with policymakers to address this critical problem.
Globally, regulators are looking closely at how to match the frenetic pace of innovation. Legislators in key jurisdictions are looking at new laws that will leave space for disruptive new technologies, while enforcing security and privacy rights, and are looking to trusted private sector partners for support. That’s why we’ve decided to invest in scaling our public policy team with the hire of a pair of experienced public-policy leaders. They will help to drive our thought leadership and work with policymakers to create the right regulatory conditions for our customers to grow and flourish across the world.
He will work with our new Head of US Government Affairs, Amy Shuart, who’s spent more than a decade in Washington working for the House Ways and Means Committee, serving as the lead senior staffer on several identity fraud legislative initiatives.
There is much to do. In the EU, with the new Digital Services Act and Artificial Intelligence Act and revisions to eIDAS and AML progressing steadily, the public policy calendar is filling up quickly. In the UK a new digital identity framework is being created, and it is crucial that this meets the needs of businesses and users relying on it. Plus with new strategies on AI, data and digital it is seeking to become a beacon of global best practice in the tech sector. We support these efforts and look forward to working closely with the government to achieve them.
In the US, we are supporting the vision of a new digital identity infrastructure. Working with the Better Identity Coalition (of which we are a founding member) we hope to see traction with the Improving Digital Identity Act, which has the potential to unlock huge benefits for the public sector, businesses and consumers in the identity space. We continue to work towards better authentication standards as a Board member of the FIDO Alliance, contributing our thought leadership and collaborating with other industry leaders in our field.
There are global challenges too, such as cryptocurrency. The breakneck pace of the crypto sector’s growth has left regulators and trading platforms struggling to keep up and implement appropriate verification rules and practices.
Efforts to develop the safest and most secure ways to purchase, trade, and hold these still-new assets will continue to grow with the market, just as cryptocurrencies will remain attractive to criminals. Analysis suggests $2.8 billion was laundered in 2019 using crypto exchanges, and the total is bound to be increasing. We believe that, to counter this trend, biometric solutions should play a key role in any new or developing regulatory regime for cryptocurrency firms.
Our new public policy experts will explain the value of biometric-backed identity verification as well as Customer Identity and Access Management (CIAM) to the policymakers who create the standards: these technologies let organizations easily and accurately verify that individuals are who they say they are, with a very high level of confidence and a very strong audit trail. Our border controls now rely on facial recognition for access to our homelands, and the technology is robust enough to check compliance with AML regulations.
Biometric-backed digital identity systems have other powerful benefits, too. As well as supporting AML and Know Your Customer requirements, they help organizations manage customer permissions, securely granting identified individuals access to digital services, applications, and products. They facilitate excellent customer experience, scalability, security, and privacy – as well as regulatory compliance. Re-authentication is as easy as snapping a selfie.
We’re sure that biometric-backed digital identity verification and CIAM won’t be a hard sell in Westminster and Washington. Since most existing regulations – even relatively up-to-date ones – were designed for an era when identity verification relied on knowledge-based authentication systems and authentication typically relied on usernames and passwords, policymakers will easily see the immense value of this modern process – and it’s our responsibility to show them.