In this article we introduce five Digital Identity initiatives currently in progress in North America. Corporations, federal governments, and state governments each have been exploring different possibilities. Based on the growing interest in digital identity and finance, we can expect more such programs to emerge over the coming years.

The Digital ID & Authentication Council of Canada (DIACC)

DIACC is a non-profit coalition of public and private sector leaders committed to developing a Canadian digital identification and authentication framework to enable Canada’s full and secure participation the global digital economy. One of their primary objectives is to provide the framework to develop a robust, secure, scalable and privacy enhancing digital identification and authentication ecosystem that will decrease costs for governments, consumers, and business while improving service delivery and driving GDP growth.

“There is a BIG difference, between transparent consent driven digital ID systems — where users provide explicit consent for specific data collection and use — and covert digital ID models where data is captured and shared without users’ knowledge or consent.” — Joni Brennan, President, DIACC

MyAlberta Digital ID (MADI)

MyAlberta Digital ID is managed by the Ministry of Service Alberta and officially backed by the Government of Alberta. MyAlberta Digital ID was setup to make it easier for Albertans to access government products & services online. It provides access to general e-services, health records, student aid, and tax credit programs. It also gives Albertans a secure way to verify who they are online without paper documents or face-to-face visits, while protecting their information and privacy.

Colorado Digital IDTM

On October 30, 2019, the governor of Colorado announced the launch of Colorado Digital ID in the myColorado mobile app, the State of Colorado’s official mobile app. The Colorado Digital ID is a secure, unique visual representation of what has traditionally been the legally accepted official physical format of a person’s identification. The Colorado Digital ID will evolve over time as national standards are identified and adopted to allow for interstate usage and to make it compliant with federal REAL ID requirements.

“As technology evolves, I’m excited to make sure that government keeps up with the times. We are rapidly moving to support the use of mobile digital identity solutions that allow any of us to verify our identity and conduct business without the need to carry a plastic identification card.” — Jared Polis, Governor of Colorado, USA

OH|ID | State of Ohio Digital Identity Standard

Ohio’s Digital Identity Program, OH|ID, provides a secure digital customer experience for Ohio’s workforce & citizens. It helps Ohioans access and navigate state and agency websites from any device with one set of login credentials.

“Ohio’s digital identity program has delivered value through increased security, operational efficiencies, centralized regulatory compliance, higher productivity, and an enhanced user experience.” — Derek Bridges, Chief Data & Analytics Officer, State of Ohio

Microsoft Decentralized Identity

Over the last two years, Microsoft has invested in incubating a set of ideas for using blockchain and other distributed ledger technologies to create new types of digital identities — identities that are designed from the ground up to enhance personal privacy, security, and control. One of their strategic goals is to help bootstrap the new DID (Decentralized Identifiers) ecosystem by creating key infrastructure that users and the developer community can depend upon.

Earlier this year, Microsoft announced an early preview of a Sidetree-based DID network, called ION (Identity Overlay Network) which runs atop the Bitcoin blockchain. The code for the ION reference node is still under rapid development, and there are many aspects of the protocol left to implement before it is ready for testing on Bitcoin mainnet as per Daniel Buchner, a Senior Program Manager at Microsoft Identity Division.

“Each of us needs a digital identity we own, one which securely and privately stores all elements of our digital identity. A self-owned identity must seamlessly integrate into our lives and give us complete control over how our identity data is accessed and used.” — Microsoft, Decentralized Identity (White Paper)