More than half of Europeans (52%) said they are open to adopting federated identification systems to expedite access to online services, according to a new survey from Unisys Corporation.
Federated identification allows a single electronic identity to be used by citizens across multiple organisations for easy verification and assertion of attributes online.
Surveying more than 3,500 Europeans across seven countries in Europe, Unisys asked consumers their opinions on federated identity, biometric authentication for access to their online accounts and attitudes on sharing personal data.
When questioned on the perceived benefits of sharing their biometric data with a federated identity program, 51% cited increased security on their accounts; 41% highlighted “single sign-on” access to multiple accounts, such as those for government, banking and social media; 33% said speedier access to government and banking services; and 28% identified reduced cost.
The survey shows that European citizens have an appetite for federated identity but many would need assurances before signing up and sharing their personal data.
“More than half (59%) of respondents said they would demand that organisations explain the security measures they would use to protect their biometric data before sharing it”
More than half (59%) of respondents said they would demand that organisations explain the security measures they would use to protect their biometric data before sharing it. However, others were more relaxed, with 35% saying they would support federated identity if it was backed by companies with which they already have online accounts. And 29% say they would share biometric data if their peers signed up to do so.
Salvatore Sinno, global chief security architect, Unisys, said: “In the future, centralised ID services are likely to include a mixture of on-device checks and on-server authentication, where personal biometric data is verified by a service provider.
“That means service providers need to join forces to win the hearts and minds of consumers, explain what security measures they have in place and how they manage personal data.
“The incoming General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) will bring data security and privacy rights to the top of the consumer agenda, so service providers’ security strategies need to be clarified quickly,” Sinno added.
Steps are already being taken in Europe to embed this technology in public services. In the UK, the government’s GOV.UK Verify program is up and running to provide the public with digital identity management, and several banks and public sector organisations are signed up to or testing the scheme.
A recent tender on the UK Government’s Digital Marketplace showed that the Government Digital Service is investigating international interoperability of GOV.UK Verify and the potential to enable UK citizens to use their Verify accounts internationally – showing steps are being taken to move toward electronic ID verification across borders.