(Mobile ID World) – British Columbia’s Chief Information Officer (CIO) is arguing that Canadian provinces (and the federal government) will need to adopt digital identity solutions to combat skyrocketing rates of cybercrime. CJ Ritchie made the comments at this year’s IdentityNORTH Summit in Toronto, and went on to suggest that verifiable credentials should serve as the foundation of any good digital identity strategy.
While there has been some pushback to the creation of digital IDs in Canada, Ritchie believes that the technology is necessary because the current situation has become untenable. According to her figures, there are now 496 million unauthorized access attempts every day in BC alone, and that figure is already up more than 100 million from the 370 million daily attempts that were being tracked at the beginning of the year.
“The stats in this area are sobering,” Ritchie told IdentityNORTH guests. “Research tells us that identity theft is up five-fold in the last decade, and we know that the number of cyber incidents is higher than ever before. In 2020, there were more cyber incidents than in the previous 15 years combined.”
Digital credentials offer a potential solution to that problem. If done properly, digital credentials cannot be tampered with, so verifying bodies can be sure that they are authentic. They also give end users more control over their personal information, since digital credentials allow them to share some information (such as proof of age) while keeping other information (such as an actual birthdate) private.
A good digital ID program also has the benefit of being scalable and interoperable. That means that digital IDs that get introduced in BC (or in a specific business sector) could eventually be used as proof of identity in other parts of Canada without any real changes with regards to the end-user experience.
For her part, Ritchie indicated that administrators at multiple levels of government are now meeting to discuss new digital identity initiatives. BC, meanwhile, has already launched several digital credential pilots, and Ritchie believes that the lessons learned in those pilots will be widely applicable to digital identity programs across the country.