online identity OCR
Cybersecurity Editor's Choice Thought Leadership

OCR Labs: Four Major Changes in Online Identity Verification

Most people have accepted that Covid initiated or facilitated significant changes in our lives and work. From the new world of remote and hybrid working to permanent global changes in how businesses operate, very little is the same as in 2019.

Some changes have been good, some bad, and others, it’s too soon to tell – but we can all agree that some changes are here to stay, writes Dan Aiello, co-founder and chief product officer at OCR Labs Global.

Aiello, who co-founded OCR Labs Global with co-founder Matt Adams in 2016 to provide online identity verification technology for businesses in the digital economy, discusses ‘the new normal’ – and how it might evolve.

Dan Aiello, co-founder and chief product officer at OCR Labs Global.
Dan Aiello, co-founder and chief product officer at OCR Labs Global

Most people have accepted that Covid initiated or facilitated significant changes in our lives and work. From the new world of remote and hybrid working to permanent global changes in how businesses operate, very little is the same as in 2019. Some changes have been good, some bad, and others, it’s too soon to tell – but we can all agree that some changes are here to stay.

In online identity verification (IDV), Covid has created several new use cases. For example, conducting right-to-work checks was traditionally done in person. Still, the widespread lockdowns forced companies to find a way to conduct compliant checks without meeting face-to-face. Arguably, this has led more people to ask themselves, ‘Does this need to be done in person?’ – and the answer is no, not if you have the right tools.

However, it is an entirely new challenge for many businesses to verify customers remotely. Regulatory requirements can be more difficult to manage if you don’t meet the customer in person and verify the authenticity of their documents.

There are four major changes that we’ve seen since Covid that we expect will continue this year and beyond:

1. Digital ID becomes ubiquitous

Growing uptake of digital services and products has been further accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic (e.g. digital banking, payments, synthetic media) and is becoming the new normal. Unlocking your car with your face is now a reality. Thus, digital ID verification becomes the de facto gatekeeper for all things digital. This need for ‘ID Everywhere’ means it must work in more countries, understand more languages, and be available at all times.

A new breed of customer has emerged that is reluctant to access services on-premise, opting instead for digital access. It is inevitable that the explosion of digital opportunities will lead to increased digital precautions, a problem that is expected to become more prominent as Web3 approaches.

2. Deepfakes rise up

ChatGPT has transformed Natural Language Processing (NLP), allowing computers to talk and type like humans. Gaming engines (like Unreal Engine 5 used to create realistic video games like Fortnite) are transforming Natural Vision Processing (NVP), enabling computers to see and perceive like humans and, in some ways, better than humans. Fraudsters will use gaming engines to create evermore realistic digital IDs and deep fakes; thereby, deep fake defence is the name of the game.

Deepfake content is becoming more affordable, and experts from different disciplines agree that technology is rapidly advancing. Therefore, we expect an evolving threat landscape wherein attacks will become easier and more successful, requiring orchestrated efforts and tools to mitigate them.

3. Zero Bias AI becomes a differentiator

Debiasing identity algorithms will become increasingly important as governments legislate inclusion. Although most would agree that there is a moral imperative to ensure that all companies provide accessible products, having a legal imperative to do so will fast-track attempts by digital providers to become compliant with the new regulations.

Some legislation around inclusion is already in place – for example, the UK Government Digital Identity and Attributes Trust framework (DIATF) has rules in section 13.3 that require companies to submit annual reports showing how they have prioritised inclusion. In the US, the White House has also created a blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights that says people ‘should not face discrimination by algorithms and systems should be used and designed in an equitable way’. And in Australia, the Government is seeking feedback on regulatory frameworks for AI.

This is only the beginning – and providers of AI-enabled technology who are already ahead of the curve in prioritising inclusion will be the ones who succeed in winning and keeping business. If you’re looking for a better understanding of what it means for AI to be truly inclusive, read our report on the quest for Zero Bias AI.

4. IDOps as new orchestrator

Globalisation requires delivering highly-tailored customer experiences across all markets and geographies. This consumer preference for convenience requires fraud and UX teams to work seamlessly and fully-orchestrated with end-to-end solutions that holistically address the entire identity verification and fraud detection workflow. Just as DevOps transformed software development, IDOps is transforming ID verification. IDOps is the orchestrated combination of Identity Verification, Fraud Operations and AI/ML processes.

Our recent survey on tackling identity fraud confirms it: findings show that many companies are especially interested in using artificial intelligence for fraud detection and to enhance anti-money laundering measures, making it a priority for 2023.

With change coming thick and fast, ensuring that your organisation can react quickly and adapt without increasing customer risk will be essential. Good AI solutions can learn from each new fraud attempt they see and stop burgeoning trends in their tracks. Hopefully, in a world with machine learning fighting fraud, this knowledge will be more easily shared amongst organisations and customers, and more people will be kept safe.

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