Scope Global and eftpos today announced a joint national initiative which aims to strengthen and simplify digital identification processes for people living with a disability, in an Australia-first pilot.
As services and interactions move increasingly online in a post COVID-19 world, one in five Australians identifying as having a disability are encountering significant challenges in identifying themselves in a digital environment.
eftpos CEO Stephen Benton says the joint initiative aims to shape eftpos’ digital identity technology to enable people living with a disability to identify themselves more easily online. This, in turn, is designed to give people with a disability the power to connect and transact with businesses and government service providers with increased independence and control.
eftpos began its new digital identity solution, connectID, in July this year, to help Australian consumers protect their identities and avoid fraud while connecting with merchants and government services.
Mr Benton said the connectID pilot will focus on people who are blind and/or vision impaired, and people with cerebral palsy or who use assistive devices to access digital platforms. The focus of the outreach process is to consult and gather feedback on potential technological approaches to facilitate capability-appropriate access to the digital environment, along with the associated process supports.
“This pilot seeks to facilitate identity verification methods to help reduce the instances of fraud and identity theft, and improve ‘digital trust’ between customers and vendors,” Mr Benton said.
eftpos is working with unique disability consulting service Maven, which is part of the South Australian Government-owned company Scope Global. Maven consults to governments, businesses and not-for-profit organisations, providing insights about website and digital content accessibility, tailored disability awareness training and physical premise accessibility reviews.
Zel Iscel, Scope Global Maven Disability Inclusion Advisor who is legally blind, says she faces many frustrations when trying to identify herself online, and would welcome the independence and privacy provided by simplified digital identification processes for people living with disability.
“If the form fields are not coded or labelled properly, I’m unable to input basic details such as my name. Visual capchas are impossible for me, so I have to wait for someone sighted. I just want to get it done when I want to – and it’s just super annoying when that doesn’t happen!”
Ms Iscel said she commended eftpos for its work in ensuring its digital identity solution is accessible to as many people as possible and believed people living with disability would utilise it.
“I would absolutely use the technology as it means I can complete what I need to online and wouldn’t have to rely on anyone. Also, if the technology allows for various ways to verify and manage identification, I believe people with disability would use it. We cherish our right for independence, choice and control, and we appreciate opportunities that allow us to exercise these rights,” Ms Iscel said.
Scope Global Chairman David Travers says that Scope Global is well credentialled to bring its experience to the pilot.
“People living with a disability – some 19% of the Australian population – encounter significant challenges in identifying themselves in an increasingly online world,” said Mr Travers.
“The pilot will allow a joint assessment of the market need and commercial opportunity for identity service providers linked to the eftpos ecosystem while designing improved identity verification methods for people with a disability.”
Rob Allen, eftpos’ Entrepreneur in Residence and spearhead of the eftpos initiative, says connectID could be used to verify a consumer’s identity for a range of different reasons such as proof of age, address details, or bank account information.
“It could also be used to identify individuals for eCommerce transactions, or to ensure government payments are made to the right person during crisis situations like a bushfire – when time is of the essence,” he added.
“The interoperable connectID solution is designed to work within the TDIF and the Australian payment industry’s TrustID framework, as well as emerging international standards, potentially opening much more of the online world to Australians with a disability.”
eftpos’ connectID is like a ‘broker’ between identity providers, such as Australia Post, and merchants or government departments that need to verify who they are dealing with, especially for interactions requiring payment. While connectID securely facilitates the identity verification or data exchange, it does not store the identity data. Identity service providers store consumer identities and take responsibility for providing this secure information only under the consent of the identity owner.