Bridging the identity gap: welcome to the age of the Digital ID Wallet

Gemalto's Digital ID Wallet

Gemalto's Digital ID Wallet represents the next generation of Mobile ID, creating a secure, smartphone-based home for all the owner's digital identity credentials. As a result, it has never been easier to prove we are who we claim to be, or access the rights and services to which we are entitled - both online and in the 'real world'. 

What's more, alongside outstanding convenience, the Digital ID Wallet offers citizens complete control over their personal data, with the freedom to decide exactly what information to share, with whom, and when. At the same time, it provides authorities with the opportunity to create companions for physical identity documents that are straightforward to issue, manage and verify, delivering a powerful tool to fight ID fraud, reduce red tape and boost efficiency.

Bringing the digital and physical worlds together

Proving that we are who we claim to be is a near-essential element of modern life. In the real world, we've long relied on physical credentials such as ID cards, health cards and driving licenses to provide the necessary evidence. And for online authentication, Mobile ID is already hugely popular. However, what's been missing is a solution that simultaneously addresses both our digital and real world requirements. Which is precisely where the Digital ID Wallet fits into the picture. 

For the first time, it establishes a true all-in-one identity gateway that puts citizens in full control of their personal data. For citizens and document issuers alike, the Digital ID Wallet therefore represents a missing piece in the jigsaw – a trusted environment in which innovative and exciting, user-focused ID initiatives can now realize their full potential.

We're ready for change

Drawing on extensive feedback from pilot projects, and active participation in the ISO standardization process, Gemalto has designed a citizen-centric solution highly praised by both end users and authorities. In the company's recent US pilots, 87% of participants said they were highly interested in a Digital ID Wallet. Indeed, the appetite for a new approach is evident right around the world.

A Gemalto survey across 11 countries in 2018 found that 70% of citizens would like their identity document in their smartphone, on the important proviso that the app was properly secured. Not surprisingly, the market is experiencing rapid expansion, with the latest report from Market Insight predicting a 24% CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) for Mobile ID initiatives worldwide, fuelled not only by the digitalization of identities, but also driving licenses and healthcare credentials.

The compelling case for a Digital ID Wallet

To this enthusiastic user base, Gemalto's Digital ID Wallet brings three compelling value propositions:  a single, secure source for any number of different identity services; digitalization of a comprehensive array of physical credentials and documents; an entirely new standard in citizen privacy.

Let's look at each one in a little more detail: 

Identity services on tap

The Digital ID Wallet is characterized by the richness and variety of identity-related services it can support. Across both the online and physical domains, the new wallet makes it quick and easy for the user to fulfil the vital task of proving their identity. So, to open a bank account in a branch, their digitalized identity can be employed in just the same way as its physical equivalent. But now, the same credential can be used to complete the task online as well. Similarly, if asked by a police officer to show evidence of their right to drive, citizens always have it to hand, safely embedded in their smartphone. And with the ID wallet, that driver's license is also a gateway to additional information, such as its current status and any endorsements. With the citizen's permission, seamless access to this real-time data can be given to police and other law enforcement officers.  

Significantly, the new ID Wallet reflects the fact that providing proof of identity is far from the full story. In many use cases, what really matters is a particular attribute or entitlement – age, address, the right to vote or access welfare programs, for example. Crucially, in fulfilling such requests, the wallet enables the holder to share only what is necessary to verify a transaction, and nothing more. Consequently, it can facilitate straightforward, authorized access to age-restricted activities such as gambling and purchasing alcohol (both online and in person), without the holder having to provide unnecessary personal details.

Furthermore, as the digitalization of public services continues to gather speed, so will the value of the Digital ID Wallet. With any number of different credentials kept in a single location on a citizen's smartphone, easy access to an ever-wider array of valued eServices is assured. With a single click, users can authenticate themselves to fill out tax returns, pay outstanding speeding fines, get the results of medical check-ups, and so much more besides. The benefits of this immediate, 24/7 connection to public services is further enhanced by support for digital signatures, enabling contracts and other agreements to be completed, when and where it is most convenient for the user.

Bringing Digital ID documents together

In terms of sheer convenience and peace of mind for users, the value of bringing multiple, digitalized official ID documents together in the same place, and enabling one-click access to a new generation of eServices, should not be underestimated. After all, studies show that we are now more likely to leave our wallet at home than our smartphone, and that 90% of users have a mobile device within reach at all times. 

With the arrival of the Digital ID wallet, the vast majority of people can finally ensure that vital digital documents, such as identity and healthcare credentialsdriver licenses, vehicle registration and polling eCards, are always kept and carried in the most secure and convenient location possible.

Putting citizens in control

In addition to a step change in accessibility, the Digital ID Wallet sets new standards for user privacy and control. Whilst it offers the potential to support any number of different credentials in a single location, each one is securely ring-fenced. The issuer of a digital driving license, for example, cannot access data from a digital health card in the same wallet. What's more, the solution is built on the principle of user consent. Digital credentials remain with the user at all times, and under his or her sole control.

Bringing government and citizens closer together

The presence of a Digital ID Wallet on the citizen's smartphone also opens a direct and secure communication channel to any government department or agency that supports it. Consequently, citizens can benefit from timely reminders on vaccinations, receive details on how to participate in forthcoming elections, and be issued efficiently with driving penalties and endorsements. Clearly, such an approach adds a completely new dimension to G2C (government-to-citizen) engagement, making it far more personal, and bringing government and citizens closer together.

Building a trusted environment for Digital ID

Losing a physical wallet, or having it stolen, can be nothing short of a nightmare. In the wrong hands, it might provide everything needed to clone an identity. On top of that, cancelling and replacing multiple different physical credentials is a time-consuming and laborious task for citizens.

Contrast that with losing a Digital ID Wallet. Even the most determined fraudster or criminal will be unable to leverage the citizen's credentials, and the ID wallet can be revoked over the air and in near real time, making it unusable. 

In addition, if the smartphone is not returned to the rightful owner, all the relevant digital credentials can be downloaded quickly and easily to a new mobile device. Indeed, credentials can always be updated remotely. As well as ensuring accuracy, this can spare citizenss and issuers the cost and inconvenience of replacing physical documents, when they expire or the holder's status changes.

The powerful combination of security and convenience embodied in the Digital ID Wallet is only made possible by Gemalto's unique blend of expertise and experience. Whilst the mobile environment undoubtedly offers tremendous advantages, it also presents significant challenges. Which is precisely why Gemalto has designed its Mobile Security Core to deliver best-in-class performance, protecting the Digital ID Wallet against advanced threats and malware attacks, and fulfilling the highest and most stringent security requirements of governments.  Specifically, advanced multi-layered security techniques are married to sophisticated encryption to ensure the robust protection of sensitive information. 

For governments and citizens alike, the new wallet therefore establishes a dedicated environment in which digital identities and credentials can truly flourish. One in which governments and citizens will reap the full benefits of digitalization in terms of speed, convenience and efficiency, without ever having to compromise on their absolute rights to privacy, security and control.