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Landmark Report on Improving Digital Identity Released Today Better Identity Coalition Creates Policy Blueprint to Improve Trust and Combat Identity Fraud

WASHINGTON — The Better Identity Coalition today released “Better Identity in America: A Blueprint for Policymakers,” a report that outlines a comprehensive policy agenda for improving the privacy and security of digital identity solutions. At an in-person event today, July 19, on Capitol Hill, coalition representatives will present the recommendations and a panel will discuss the findings.

The report outlines five key initiatives:

  1. Prioritize the development of next-generation remote identity proofing and verification systems.
  2. Change the way Americans use the Social Security Number.
  3. Promote and prioritize the use of strong authentication.
  4. Pursue international coordination and harmonization of identity standards.
  5. Educate consumers and businesses about better digital identity solutions.

$16.8 billion was lost in the United States due to identity fraud in 2017 – a year in which the nonprofit Identity Theft Resource Center reported a 44.7% increase in the number of data breaches. While the market has responded with an array of products that aim to address the identity challenge, they are inconsistent in accuracy and reliability, and therefore are increasingly placing consumers and businesses at risk.

The Better Identity Coalition has brought together leading firms from different sectors of the economy to create a set of consensus policy recommendations to address these inadequacies — with a focus on solutions that empower consumers to protect their identity online. 

“This white paper establishes a road map for policymakers on the critical issue of consumer identity and authentication. Improving customer experience, ensuring privacy and reducing the fraud that affects businesses and consumers are critical issues that Symantec addresses every day. We’re very pleased to be a member of the Better Identity Coalition and are excited about the recommendations made in this report,” said Nico Popp, senior vice president of Symantec.

Launched in February 2018, The Better Identity Coalition is focused on developing and advancing consensus-driven, cross-sector policy solutions that promote the development and adoption of better solutions for identity verification and authentication. The variety of transactional services available online is greater than ever before, but with this advancement comes the challenge of proving consumer identity, leading to an increased risk of fraud and theft.

“Identity verification and authentication is a societal issue. Only with cooperation and guidance from private industry and policymakers may we rebuild consumer confidence and therefore trust in any transaction that takes place online,” noted Debbie Guild, chief security officer of The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc., in her keynote at the Capitol Hill event.

The report can be downloaded here

Reactions from Founding Coalition Members:

“The ideas put forth by the Better Identity Coalition are essential to meet the fundamental challenges of advancing authentication for the individual and identity management for the enterprise.”

-  Jim Routh, chief security officer for Aetna

“Better identity is critical not just to improving cybersecurity, but also protecting consumer privacy and enhancing customer experiences.  The “policy blueprint” published by the Better Identity Coalition outlines a series of concrete steps that public and private sectors can take to modernize identity in America and improve trust online.  Citi is pleased to have contributed to the blueprint, and looks forward to working with policymakers to find innovative approaches to modernize legacy identity systems to meet customer expectations for the digital age.”

- Bob Blakley, Director of Information Security Innovation, Citigroup

“Protecting an individual’s personal identity is paramount to the security and trust of our customers and employees.  Advancing threats and new innovations provide an imperative for new digital identity solutions - our current authentication and identity protections are clearly not sufficient.  The coalition is a strategic call for accelerated collaboration across the public and private sectors to enable better digital identity.”

- Diane Rogerson, Managing Director, JPMorgan Chase

 “The Coalition’s work is helping Kabbage decrease barriers to financial services for small business around the world. Identity verification is a legacy pain point for our small business customers and we’re excited about finding easier more secure methods that fit our digital banking world. We believe it is imperative that industry and governments around the world harmonize policy solutions in critical technology sectors. Kabbage, along with the rest of Coalition, look forward to discussing our findings with policymakers.”

- Sam Taussig, Director of Global Policy, Kabbage

 “Every day, our teams are driving innovation and building technologies to make life both simpler and more secure. In order to meet evolving consumer and business needs, industry and government players will need to continue to collaborate and make digital identity systems a reality.” 

- Tucker Foote, Senior Vice President, Public Policy, Mastercard

 “As anyone affected by the recent spate of hacks and leaks will tell you, our data is burnt — and that means that the way we transact online is no longer secure. Social Security numbers are no longer up to the task, and finding a digital replacement is imperative — not just for businesses, but for users, regulators and policy makers, too. The blueprint is the first step towards that. By working collaboratively to act on these five key initiatives, we can ensure that new types of trusted services can continue to be offered online, without the risk of identity fraud.”

- Parker Crockford, Director of Policy & Strategic Accounts, Onfido

“As the opportunities created by digital commerce grow, so too do the number and variety of cyber threats we face. Too often, we have relied on outdated modes of security to keep us safe from these attacks. As static passwords prove inadequate to the task of protecting our digital identities, companies like Visa are working on smarter authentication and security tactics using biometrics, EMV chips, tokenization, AI-based predictive analytics and device identification to keep payments private and safe.”

- Ellen Richey, Vice Chairman and Chief Risk Officer, Visa

“The advancement of technology has put a focus on the importance of personal privacy and security. We are happy to support the Better Identity Coalition in their efforts to raise awareness and drive improvements in reducing risk and safeguarding consumer identity online.

-  Rich Baich, Chief Information Security Officer, Wells Fargo

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The Better Identity Coalition is an organization of leading businesses focused on developing and advancing consensus-driven, cross-sector policy initiatives that promote the development and adoption of better solutions for identity verification and authentication. The coalition was launched in February 2018 by the Center for Cybersecurity Policy and Law, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting education and collaboration with policymakers on policies related to cybersecurity. 

Coalition members include Aetna, Bank of America, Citigroup, IDEMIA, JPMorgan Chase, Kabbage, Mastercard, Onfido, PNC Bank, Symantec, U.S. Bank, Visa, and Wells Fargo.

Doug Gardner