The identity industry is changing. Many of the identity indicators we took for granted are no longer fit for purpose. Social Security Numbers (SSNs) were never meant to be a national identifier, of course. But for decades, they have been the key proof of identity for millions of Americans. We expected the SSN to solve a problem that it was never designed for. And with the additional challenge of widespread digital onboarding, it can no longer carry that burden.
Cellphone ownership is another identifier that seemed promising. But, like SSNs, SIM cards and handsets were not designed for that purpose. And, like SSNs, their flaws have now rendered the system ineffective—and even dangerous—for use in digital onboarding.
And it’s not just the identifiers we use that are changing. Regulation is also changing the face of identity verification. New Customer Due Diligence (CDD) and Know Your Customer (KYC) regulation is raising new challenges for smooth and secure user onboarding, and that trend looks set to continue.
If we have learned anything from the SSN, it is that any future identity solution needs to be designed specifically for that purpose. New solutions will need new thinking, and new technology.
Identity is changing faster than ever. And the future belongs to those who can keep up.