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Digital document conference

Calls for international standards to safeguard the security of new digital ID technologies were aired at the first Digital Document Security Conference. The event saw delegates from government banknote, and ID issuing and enforcement agencies gather in Berlin. These included security document providers such as Bundesdruckerei, Goznak, SICPA and Orell Füssli, universities and research institutes, and Google, Veridos and Scytáles among other businesses in new digital transaction and ID systems.

The conference, organised by Reconnaissance International, supported moves towards introducing new global standards spanning the characteristics, security and interoperability of digital driving licences, other ID documents and bank and credit card data, which are stored on smartphones and other portable devices.

The safety and security of digital identity and financial transactions was a theme to emerge from the presentations and discussions. The event was a showcase for several new digital ID initiatives, such as Kosovo’s new digital driving licence, and other developers’ specific approaches to the protection of digital systems.

However, the fragility of public trust in these systems was also acknowledged as critical. The question was posed: will these technologies have the same public trust and confidence enjoyed by banknotes and passports, which feature a high level of security and protection?

Dr Alan Hodgson, conference co-chairman, pointed out that “trust takes a long time to build and no time to destroy”. On the other hand, a key driver for digitalisation is public convenience, although this can jeopardise or compromise security. Co-chairman Ian Lancaster, pictured, iterated that this transition brings a shift in power from the issuers to the public, who own and control the smartphones on which these systems work.

The event also heard that the tipping point in the move from physical to digital and eID systems had now been passed. But this didn’t prevent delegates from expressing their concerns regarding the security of such systems, given the hacking and ID theft cases now being reported.


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