Article 4 min

Global Assured Identity Network — the start of a cross-border framework?

Global Assured Identity Network

December 8, 2021  

As the world goes increasingly digital, the need for digital identification and verification to help build a layer of trust between Internet users becomes ever more apparent. To protect against financial crimes and provide accountability for online actions, organizations need to know who they are dealing with. The race is on to create digital identity frameworks that are high-trust, secure and protect privacy.

One framework proposed in a White Paper by 150 contributors suggests that financial institutions and other regulated entities establish a Global Assured Identity Network (GAIN). The open-source initiative points out that trusted and regulated entities already exist to verify people or their credentials and act as identity information providers.

The White Paper states

The knowledge, skills, and technology exist to deliver the GAIN: it is now a matter of those with high-trust identity data – starting with financial institutions – joining together to unite disparate schemes and achieve the global reach required to underpin a truly digital economy.

National trust networks

There are examples of different institutions working together that demonstrate the potential of so-called trust networks. For instance, BankID Norway covers 99% of Norwegian adults, and other projects in Sweden, Germany, Belgium and Canada are also gaining traction.

Financial institutions do have certain built-in advantages to participate in trust networks, as they already:

  • Deal with strict Know Your Customer (KYC) compliance requirements
  • Have deep trust relationships with their customers
  • Deploy extensive technological capabilities and are increasing their fintech abilities
  • Follow robust security and privacy protocols

But trust networks, by their very nature, are hard to build. Getting highly competitive organizations of any type to work together is complex, and the depth of cooperation for a successful trust network is immense.

There are data sharing considerations; do the benefits of sharing organizational data outweigh the risks of providing competitors valuable data? Even if the value is there, are the systems in place to ensure you can trust other parties with your data?

There are also legal considerations. What are the specific rules around privacy protection? What happens if a data breach occurs or there is some form of non-compliance? Without clear legal and regulatory structures in place, compliance teams would need to rely on substantial contractual arrangements, creating more work and areas of potential risk.

Creating a trust network in one jurisdiction is tough enough, but the issues multiply when considering cross-border cooperation. GAIN is proposing a global trust network, a highly ambitious and complex goal.

There are powerful examples of financial institutions cooperating across borders. Consider SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication), a system that connects 11,000+ financial institutions in over 200 countries to deliver global payments. But SWIFT is more than 40 years old, and payments are often slow and have high transaction fees. There are ongoing efforts to modernize SWIFT and new initiatives, such as ISO 20022, to create better communications between financial institutions. It’s important to note that these are multi-year-long implementations and in areas that are core to financial services.

Global trust network

The goal of “joining together to unite disparate schemes” doesn’t need to start from nothing; Trulioo has been working on connecting global identity data sources for a decade.

Trulioo offers financial institutions across the globe access to a marketplace of identity networks and services that combines business intelligence and a robust KYC match engine to accurately identify, verify and authenticate businesses and consumers in real-time. We have years of modeling, testing and implementing a highly secure and privacy-protecting trust network that operates globally.

We understand cross-border compliance and the cultural requirements of sharing sensitive data, and we prove it daily with Fortune 500 companies, global banks and numerous other partners. We commend and support GAIN’s vision and how it fits with our mission of trust, privacy and inclusion. Trust is crucial for the online world and the opportunity to accelerate it within a robust framework is a worthy goal.