Some time ago, I was hanging around in London at the Identity & KYC Summit Europe to listen to learned people talking about the question. Discussing about identification and KYC has always had this gift to excite my curiosity, and I must admit to you guys that I was not disappointed!
First observation, they want us to do more stuff via the internet and mainly via our smartphone.
You’ll be telling me that you already knew a little bit about that. Well, me too. But what really surprised me was the scale and the level of progress of these projects.
Second observation, in this very world which is ruled by smartphones, it is going to be vital to know who has the smartphone in his hands and so, who’s taking action. In order to claim a credit, talk to his/her bank, book a trip, question an administration, etc…
The Belgian or Estonian citizen (to consider only Europe, but particularly in Malaysia since 2001) will think that this a very strange question because, in fact, in order to prove their identities, these people have had since a very long time an identity card with a chip at their disposal. You’re going to tell me that willing to put a bank card in a smartphone seems odd, but it shouldn’t be impossible to find a solution of synchronisation between these two.
The smartphone as an unavoidable daily tool ? Let’s admit it. But well then the troubling question of identification appears : who are you and how are you going to give this absolute certainty to your spokesperson??
Let’s forget for a moment about the hardware systems such as the identification of Iris or fingerprints or whatsoever. We aren’t there yet. Because this has to be reliable and handy.
In my opinion, it is unquestionably a souvereign function for the state to know its citizens, meaning to manage the identity documents. Why are the states always so reluctant when it comes to tackling this question. Let’s not talk about the Brits who still don’t have identity cards and who are not ready to accept the procedure. But what about the other European countries ? Would it be that difficult to find an agreement on an electronic identity card which is compatible between the 27 states?
Seriously, don’t you think it’s ridiculous to identify yourself with your driving license or with “utility bills” of the heating system or electricity?
For lack of public initiative, a whole range of solutions are about to be started by private providers.
The banks occupy the first row. Some sources say that a bank which is able to identify its clients in a reliable and easy way with very low costs, will see the heavenly gates of e-banking opening in front of their eyes. In Great-Britain, a whole range of services dispensed by the public sector are being done based on the identification certified by the financial institutions . Well, yes…
In the second row, we can find the neutral institutions with a strong IT connotation; the best example being LuxTrust, of which I bumped into the representative in London. Personally, I find this solution more acceptable because it’s more neutral. But how about an international (!) usage of this kind of certification?
Beside that, the “trustworthy” institutions who already have proceeded with an advanced identification of its clients could share their KYC procedures with third parties. Nothing would avoid your lawyer to share the information of one of its clients through a routine of IBAKUS®KYC. Even making money out of them.
I’ll stop here, I have a feeling that I’ll lose you.
But you followed me very well. And you have understood very well that we are far above the question of what color your next smartphone will be and to know to what it will serve you. We’re in the middle of important questions about the society.
The question is fascinating. I’ll keep my eyes wide (and ears too) open and keep you informed.
Founder and CEO @ Ibakus Europe SA.
Founder of FMV & Partners SA in 2000s.