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        6 Reasons Digital Identity Will Never Replace Physical Identity

        Digital Identity

        Global Digital change has accelerated because of the COVID-19 pandemic. To reduce the spread of the virus, governments rushed to provide services and benefits to residents online and remotely by doing away with the necessity for in-person ID checks. Governments also rushed to force individuals to adopt a COVID-19 Digital Certification. Coordination of real-world and virtual-world credentials became more crucial as civilisation shifted towards more digital interactions and the verification that was associated with them.

        As the local and global rollout of Digital IDs has increased, Physical ID documents and cards will continue to play a significant role in identity authentication. They will be, in many ways, tightly linked to virtual credentials. Governments and National ID issuers continue to use Physical ID documents and cards for various applications and government services and will continue to do so.

        Let’s discuss six key issues that necessitate the continued need for Physical ID documents:

        1. Digital identity has major security risks

        Digital IDs are a growing example of “smart city” initiatives, where governments and businesses assert that “smart,” tech-based “solutions” may address issues like social service inefficiency and banking accessibility. The fact that Digital IDs and smart-city initiatives frequently worsen inequality and harm the communities they are supposed to support is something that proponents of Digital IDs fail to mention. Rarely are communities consulted before these developments are put in place.

        “Public-private Partnerships,” in which governments hire private firms to deliver services that are traditionally public, are frequently the driving force behind Digital IDs. Due to the lack of transparency and accountability, this provides Private Corporations control over the personal information of citizens, governmental entities, and resources. Decisions are not made to address community needs but to boost business profits. It’s not always harmful to digitise city services, but digitising private data and connecting it to identities can easily result in more surveillance and prevent people from accessing necessities like resources and fundamental rights. Due to corporate surveillance and policing that is supported by data sharing, this poses a threat to both our Physical and Digital security.

        Digital Identity

        Governments market Digital IDs as convenient, such as a Digital Driver’s License on a Smart Phone or Healthcare Card on Services NSW App. However, Digital Identities increase state control over citizens. Additionally, Digital ID systems produced by governments collect large amounts of personal and biometric information and share that data with government agencies and private enterprises without consultation with the citizens whose data they are collecting and sharing.

        Digital Identity

        2. Relying purely on smartphones for identity is dangerous

        Physical ID cards and documents continue to be the best option for citizens who can’t or won’t carry a smartphone or who reside in areas with spotty mobile coverage since they are portable and simple to show and confirm by authorities without depending on mobile network access or coverage.
        Physical credentials must be regarded as a component of the citizen identity ecosystem since there will always be a need for Physical Identifying methods, according to Martin Hoff, Product Marketing Manager for Entrust’s Instant ID Issuance.

        “While mobile devices can be used to effectively store and present digital credentials, not everyone has a smartphone. Physical smartcards should work hand-in-hand with digital credentials to ensure a wide range of use cases and smooth interactions for citizens around the globe.”

        Additionally, what if a person loses their Smart Phone? What if a person’s Smart Phone runs out of battery when required to present a Digital ID? What if a person’s Smart Phone is stolen? When citizens store their entire Identity Profile on their Smart Phone, they are putting the security of their identity at risk the moment their Smart Phone is compromised.

        3.  There are situations where you need a physical ID only

        Nurses, Doctors, and Medical Professionals require a Physical ID Card to be always on them to verify their identity to patients and other medical personnel. A Digital ID that requires them to log on to their Smart Phone is not practical or an option. A Miner or Construction worker with limited or unstable access to network coverage will always require a Physical ID on them for safety purposes. A Digital ID, where it is required for them to log on to their Smart Phone, is not practical or an option. Where it is required for a person to instantly verify their identity, a Digital ID will never replace the Physical ID Credential.

        Digital Identity
        Digital Identity

        In Australia, you still are required to present a Physical Card or Document: Applying for a Passport requires you to show a Physical Birth Certificate and Physical Driver’s License Card. When applying for a Bank Loan or a Car Loan, you are required to show a Physical Driver’s License (not a Digital Driver’s License). There is a reason for this: Digital Identity is not a trusted form of identity for high-security situations because Institutions do not trust that the Digital ID presented to them is authentic and has not been duplicated or forged.

        4. Trusted digital identity is reliant on physical identity

        One of the most important technological trends today is Digital Identification, which is already a daily reality for an increasing number of public stakeholders and individuals. It can be used to validate its owner with certain credentials (such as a unique ID number in India, a mobile ID in Finland or Estonia, or an eID card in Germany, Italy, Spain, or Portugal).

        “The value in digital IDs is the ability to provide more citizens greater access to public services like health care, education and government benefit programs in a convenient, seamless and secure way,” Hoff said.

        Three general processes—capture, verification, and digitalisation—establish a trustworthy Digital ID. A Physical Identity document, such as a Passport or Card, or a National ID, such as a driver’s licence, is used to collect the subscriber’s ID information. Upon capture, the device uses specialised software to confirm the ID card’s or document’s validity. After a match is made between the biometric data and the Identity Card or document, a Digital ID may be generated. Therefore, you need a Physical Identity Card to issue a Digital Identity Card. We will never have a world where this is not the case.

        5. Multi-layered identity issuance is always the most secure

        A Physical ID Card and a Digital Identification, when issued together, provide strong, multi-layered protection. Together, the two-form factors present a very secure, highly customised ID that is difficult to forge, saving the governments which use them a lot of money.

        The Irish Passport Card is a perfect example: a tightly restricted, extremely secure passport that permits cross-border travel within the European Union. It is an example of how Physical and Mobile ID can co-exist. Mobile Phones can be used by Irish citizens to apply for and pay for their Passport Cards. The overhead and administrative costs for the issuing agency are drastically decreased when the enrolment process is sped up, and citizen convenience is increased without jeopardising privacy. In the end, a Physical Card is still issued, even though various security features and methods, such as online credential authentication, were used in advance to guarantee that the card issued was a “genuine” ID.

        Digital Identity

        Physical cards and Mobile IDs can co-exist in highly secure government applications to provide a complete multi-factor authentication of:
        1. What a person knows – such as a Password or Security Question
        2. What they have – such as a Physical Card
        3. Something they are – a Registered Fingerprint that can be read by a Biometric Scanner.

        Digital Identity

        6. A hybrid strategy for credential deployment will become more popular as the need for multi-factor authentication increases.

        Estonia is another example, which maintains the need for Physical Credentials while having the world’s most advanced National ID Card system. The obligatory National Card offers Digital access to all of Estonia’s secure e-services in addition to serving as a legal photo ID. With 384-bit ECC public key encryption and the embedded files on the card’s chip, irrefutable ID evidence in an electronic setting is possible.

        In Summary: Physical documents and identity continue to play a major role in identity authentication

        With the increase of Digital ID worldwide, the reliability and convenience of Physical ID will become more critical for organisations to ensure total identity security. Digital ID will never fully replace Physical ID.

        Look at our Desktop Issuance Instant ID Card Solutions to secure your identity in the tried and tested way, Physical ID Cards! These solutions can issue a Digital Credential simultaneously.

        Enquire today!

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