What Apple’s Face ID means for Australia Post’s Digital iD™

Identity verification has never been more important than in an age of global cybercrime, network hacking and online fraud. But proving who you are, particularly online, can be a cumbersome, often friction-filled process.

We’re excited to be part of a future in which identity verification is a seamless process that quietly takes place in the background. Much like how payments has evolved. Think of Uber where you can get out of the car and walk away once you’ve reached your destination.

It will, however, take time for technology to advance enough for us to build the identity infrastructure that’s necessary to reach this vision. And even when that infrastructure’s in place, its success will be determined by consumer acceptance.

And so the introduction of Apple’s iPhone X Face ID and Samsung’s Galaxy S8 Iris recognition are welcome steps forward in this direction.

Much like Touch ID, both these features help drive consumer acceptance of new identity verification technology and provide a platform for organisations to learn about this technology and how their customers interact with it.

Since the iPhone X launched on Wednesday, I’ve been asked how Face ID could change what Australia Post is doing with Digital iD™ - a new online identity verification platform we recently launched. The way I see it, the Face ID will help Digital iD™ on two fronts.

Firstly, Face ID is an improved mechanism to help keep a person’s phone secure. This in turn creates an important layer of protection around Digital iD™ which is accessed through your smartphone.

Secondly, Face ID will help build consumer awareness and familiarity around the idea of using their facial features to prove who they are. Having said that though, there’s a key distinction between Face ID and Digital iD™ in the way each uses face biometrics.

Face ID requires that you prove you’re the same person who enrolled in Face ID on your phone. But it doesn’t prove your identity beyond that.

Digital iD™, on the other hand, will use face biometrics to prove you’re the owner of the identity represented by your Digital iD™.

In a nutshell, Face ID is about unlocking your phone and Digital iD™ is about proving who you are as a person.

The journey towards a truly seamless identity verification future will take time. But it will be interesting to see where it all leads.

A single digital identity could unlock billions in economic opportunity for Australia. Our white paper, A frictionless future for identity management, explains how.