Andrew Johnston, Principal Technology Architect Telus
1) Many people know Telus but for people who are new to the community tell me more about Telus and the latest updates going on with you? TELUS has been a strong supporter of DIACC and IdentityNorth since their inception. Our belief in a pan-Canadian approach to individual identity has manifested in ongoing contribution to DIACC’s Pan Canadian Trust Framework and in participation in various Proofs of Concept, including “Building Canada’s Digital Future” and “Online Proof of Residency”.
As both Canada’s fastest-growing national telecommunications company and Canada's largest healthcare IT provider, TELUS is an important consumer of Digital Identity services. In addition, we have invested in developing Digital Identity service offerings to help meet the needs of our public and private sector customers. As expectations of what transactions can be conducted online continue to grow exponentially, it makes sense that the primary device on which we want to conduct these transactions – the smartphone – is central to how Identity is authenticated, validated and verified.
2) What are some of the biggest questions and opportunities in digital identity and authentication today?
Just as telephone or internet connectivity are considered fundamental infrastructure that enable organizations to deliver services to their customers, one can make a strong argument that Identity services are similarly, a fundamental enabler of high value transactions. Over the past couple of decades, we have seen a strong trend towards the ‘as-a-service’ model wherein organizations are choosing to entrust a number of non-core activities (for example, call centre operations, billing support, HR payroll) to third-parties. As more and more organizations embrace the fact that they do not have to own and operate their own identity infrastructure and can rely on third parties to validate an identity or credentials, it is clear that consumer Identity-as-a-Service is here to stay. Having said that, there are a number of unanswered questions when it comes to the IDaaS model. For example, finding an appropriate privacy model that offers the right level of protection to Canadians is incredibly important. We are seeing that the average user has become accustomed to giving up certain data attributes in order to get access to a service. For example, it really is a far stretch to try and understand why a Voice Recorder app needs access to call history. In Canada, privacy is as important a consideration as any other and how Identity service providers let individuals control the storage and sharing of their personal data. It is clear that new and innovative identity services will enable more efficient operations, in both the physical and digital worlds. We all know that no system is foolproof, so how do we as a community prepare for the situation where a fraudster is able to impersonate someone and open accounts under their identity? All the players within the Identity ecosystem must ensure a scalable liability model. 3) What is Telus doing to address the questions and opportunities from question 2? TELUS has many roles to play in the development of a pan-Canadian Identity ecosystem. TELUS’ contributions started with participation both at the Board and working levels of the DIACC. TELUS continues to support the remarkable community that has grown around IdentityNORTH. In addition, we have invested in developing Identity services that will help improve the lives of our consumer and business customers. One example is the work we have done to develop and test Mobile Connect, the emerging global standard for federated authentication. By providing a viable alternative to social login, we hope to be able to allow Canadians the choice to use a credential that does not pass along their identity data while authenticating them.
We have recently brought into market, through our partnership with IDENTOS, a number of innovative identity solutions. A couple of examples are the FIDO (based on the FIDO Alliance standard) authentication products that enable businesses to use the FIDO protocols in their customer facing apps for 2nd factor authentication, or device-based authentication services that allows businesses to offer their customers a passwordless login experience.
Over the next year, we have an exciting roadmap of products and services that we will be launching, so stay tuned!
What Attendees are saying
“The only conference in Canada where one can meet the who’s who of knowledgeable people and champions of digital identity to discuss the real issues and opportunities in this space.” Dave Nikolejsin, Deputy Minister of Energy and Mines at Government of British Columbia
“A fantastic platform bringing together Canadian thought leaders and key industry experts to promote innovation in digital identity and authentication.” Mike Vanderkaden, VP Corporate Development, Equifax Canada