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Kia ora e te whānau
Ngā mihi o te Tau Hou! And I wish you all a trustful and prosperous one.
Will 2024 move the dial on Digital Trust in Aotearoa? This may seem provocative, but it’s not intended to be. It’s a reasonable question, given our economic and budgetary challenges coupled with Canadian evidence of a decrease in internet trust likely reflected globally. This means Aotearoa has to put in a mighty team effort with slim resources to reverse the trend, and in the year that the Digital Identity Trust Framework regulation comes into force and hopefully portable verifiable credentials that form part of it become the norm in our daily digital lives. We will only move the dial if public sector agencies and industry genuinely rally around our shared issues, collectively inform and educate people on why these issues matter. Alongside these efforts, it is important to maintain non-digital channels for those who can’t, don’t feel confident with or choose not to use digital.
While I’ve drawn on the above examples, there are other industry sectors with their requisite frameworks, concepts, regulations and codes of practice. They may not be termed ‘Trust Frameworks’ but in most practical senses they are. For instance, consider the Know Your Customer (KYC) component of the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regulations applying to financial institutions and our friends at PaymentsNZ leveraging its API centre to support adoption of open banking. Or consider farm sourced product supply chain provenance promulgated through verifiable credentials issued to a digital farm wallet by our friends at Trust Alliance NZ. These span private and public sectors, industries and across international boundaries. They are ecosystems and networks performing critical purposes that – if the vision for a frictionless, safe, privacy-aware trusted digital future that most want to see – must work seamlessly with each other and be trusted by people, institutions and governments globally.
The fact is our existing centralised and federated digital identity systems with their requisite username/password processes that we started our digital lives with, are increasingly less fit for purpose. They are inconvenient to use, restrict our control over data about us, and provide opportunities for bad actors to steal our data, scam us, take over our accounts and exploit us as ‘products’, causing pain, stress and distrust.
Of the new, portable, reusable, more secure and privacy aware emerging systems, components such as verifiable credentials and passkeys that eliminate the use of passwords as DINZ member Authsignal has just implemented for DINZ member Air New Zealand, are mature and usable today. DINZ itself has preliminary ideas to introduce its members to Decentralised Identifiers (DIDs), a key component of verifiable credentials as explained in this whitepaper by our member Microsoft. But to use them, digital systems operated by all sectors need to be able to accept and in many cases issue them. Australia’s Steve Wilson, industry commentator and speaker at our 2022 Digital Trust Hui Taumata discusses the digital wallet metaphor and its relationship to the other components here. While humans and enterprises are naturally resistant to change due to fear, uncertainty, doubt, effort, focus and money, Aotearoa has a great record of embracing change. Look how we took to EFTPOS and more recently Apple Pay, Google Pay and our smartphone banking apps. Look how we’ve learned to use QR codes to access buildings or even collect green fees at golf courses! These ‘new era’ tools can hide technical complexity to deliver the convenient, secure, consented and privacy respecting digital experiences we are entitled to expect when we are asked to confirm that minimal set of ‘identiful’ things needed to know to trust before we transact. It’s not just about you personally and it’s not just one-way trust. It is trusting each others’ devices, organisations and websites as we go about our daily lives. Sponsoring aspects of Digital Identity NZ’s mahi will help raise public awareness and knowledge to ultimately deliver tangible products and services in support.
However, moving the dial on digital trust in 2024 will take more than ‘a coalition of the willing’ while the majority sit back. It will take a concerted, orchestrated effort from the coalition of five million. No person or entity is immune to the potential threats and no-one should be limited in taking the opportunities digitalisation brings.
To make progress, we need to step out of our comfort zone. Organisations should use new tools for their services, and people need to be willing to try them.
Ngā mihi nui
DINZ Executive Director
Read full news here: Will 2024 move the dial? | January Newsletter