- Jurisdictions, including Canada, are looking at new regulations to ensure individuals own their online identity
- The company’s solution replicates your wallet and keys in the digital world, using unique avatars and biometrics to make identity verification, service access, and payment simple and secure
- KABN’s Liquid Avatar is set to go live this summer
Proving your identity and having secure access to facilities and vehicles in the real world is relatively straightforward. Most Canadian adults carry a wallet with a driver’s licence and other identification, plus a set of keys that gain them access to their home, vehicles, and workplace.
Online, it hasn’t been that simple. Access to services and ‘facilities’ consists of fragmented processes and systems that are often onerous and vulnerable to fraud. Managing your identity and gaining access to services digitally also means keeping track of dozens of logins and passwords—and securing them in an ad hoc manner. This highlights that proving your identity has become a laborious process, often repeated numerous times to make a transaction. At the same time, companies are building digital profiles of you and selling what they learn to advertisers for their own profit.
Recognizing that this evolving situation needs attention as online life continues to expand, an increasing number of jurisdictions are implementing regulations to enhance personal privacy and data control. Several, including Canada, are considering new rules making it clear that an individual’s identity belongs to them, and them alone, and cannot be used by corporations for profit without explicit permission.
“When you leave the house, you carry a set of keys and a wallet with your identification. Liquid Avatar creates a unique digital image that emulates that digitally.”
— Ben Kessler, CEO, KABN Systems NA Holdings Corp.
Making online ID verification simple and secure
KABN Systems NA Holding Corp. (CSE: KABN) is an emerging Canadian digital identity provider that has set out to help people navigate these choppy waters. The company has created an integrated suite of digital identity, financial and loyalty services, built on KABN ID, an “Always On,” biometrically-based, privacy-compliant validation and verification platform that allows users to continuously and confidently prove themselves to the online community, exchanges and other services.
On that technology foundation, KABN is launching Liquid Avatar, a consumer-oriented service where users will create an account based around a unique avatar through which they can conduct all online activities—from seeing a medical practitioner to making secure online purchases. Expected to launch this summer, Liquid Avatar will emulate everything a wallet and keys do in the real world, authenticating user identity through biometrics to ensure security.
“We’ve built an ecosystem for users to create, verify, and manage a digital wallet and keyring that emulates what they do in the real world,” says KABN’s CEO, Ben Kessler. “When you leave the house, you carry a set of keys and a wallet with your identification. Liquid Avatar creates a unique digital image that emulates that digitally.”
KABN’s core philosophy: Individuals should own and profit from their identity
KABN follows a dual philosophy that proving your identity online should be as easy as it is in person and that an individual’s digital ID is important and should be entirely owned by them. Just as people do in the real world, individuals should be able to profit from that identity by being able to take advantage of deals and offers from businesses they’re already interested in.
“Digital identity is probably, outside of time, our most valuable asset,” Kessler explains. “It allows us to prove we are an individual and gives us access to our banking, education, and other services. It makes you who you are. I have rights as an individual, and as an individual, I need to own things that are being done for, with, and about me.”
With KABN ID as the verification tool and Liquid Avatar being used as the character to represent you, clients can expect faster, more effective, and cost-efficient service compared to traditional, transactional anti-money laundering or “Know your Customer” services. This all works to reduce time, resources, and friction when onboarding users.
KABN can also provide a fully comprehensive profile for any lawful request without revealing personally identifiable information (PII). For the company customers, KABN ID offers a greater level of protection for your identity, as businesses only receive access to your identity marker connected to your online wallet or another registry, never passing any personally identifiable information to unknown third parties.
Option of opting in for promotions tailored to individual interests
One key aspect of KABN ID is that the individual controls their data; it is never sold, rented, or even revealed to businesses offering promotions. It’s up to the individual to opt into the online service they want.
Users will get offers from companies interested in advertising special deals to targeted lists. Taking online content as an example, such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, or TikTok, KABN can strike a deal with advertisers to provide a deal to anyone who has identified that they consume content online. Users on that list would get a notice in their KABN profile of this deal—maybe for a discount on Disney+ if users sign up for the whole year. The same principle could apply to a restaurant, movie theatre, or club. The business gets the opportunity to market themselves in a focused manner to a list of people who have expressed interest in their types of service or product, and the individuals benefit from the deals being offered without having to expose any of their personal information.
KABN’s role is to match offers with users, but only where users are interested. They’re not allowing companies access to their lists and incentives but will deliver incentives and deals to users who may be interested. In this way, the retailer would not even have the names or email addresses for anyone KABN provides with the offer, only when the offer is accepted by the consumer would a more direct contact be made between the consumer and retailer.
“The key is if I’m constantly doing stuff online and being part of something, I may find I have an affinity towards things,” Kessler notes. “We can offer services that complement your lifestyle and needs by using data science. It’s all about how we create a symbiotic relationship with our customers and give them access to deals they might otherwise not be able to get.”
Individuals’ control of their own personal data online is a right that has been trampled on in recent years with huge companies gathering information about individuals and selling it to advertisers (think of Facebook’s privacy scandal involving Cambridge Analytica a few years back). Individuals might not be actively aware that this is happening, but information is being gathered about anyone online every time they surf the Internet, use social media or enable location services on their phone.
Privacy and data protection regulations—including those in Canada—are catching up to the reality, and increasingly stating that users should be able to own their data, and that it cannot be used without their permission.
“Consumers have rights, as human beings, to own and control their data,” Kessler explains. “All those things we do in the conventional world will eventually evolve into the online world.”
Take the California Consumer Privacy Act, for example, and how it handles peoples’ privacy. The act allows “Any California consumer to demand to see all the information a company has saved on them, as well as a full list of all the third parties that data is shared with. In addition, the California law allows consumers to sue companies if the privacy guidelines are violated, even if there is no breach.”
In Canada, organizations covered by the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) “Must generally obtain an individual's consent when they collect, use or disclose that individual's personal information. People have the right to access their personal information held by an organization. They also have the right to challenge its accuracy. All businesses that operate in Canada and handle personal information that crosses provincial or national borders are subject to PIPEDA.”
As these laws extend to more parts of the world, the nature of online activity, such as shopping, education and even using social media, will fundamentally change for the better.
KABN’s challenge and opportunity are to come into that new world with a service that fills the void left by the changes. Liquid Avatar does that by giving the individual control over their online identification. Rather than cookies on their computer passing along information, the user can set up conditions for sharing information. Some information will be widely available, say someone’s name. Other information will only be given to designated providers—perhaps an education provider that needs to verify your identity before you take an online exam or a retailer who needs payment information.
Users can set up terms for who can access their identity verification, banking information, credit card numbers, insurance numbers, vehicle registration, etc. Any site they visit can be included such as banks, financial services, retailers, healthcare providers, schools, government services, education sites, entertainment, and more. It also allows you to manage access by friends and family, store contact information, and even your medical records.
It does everything your wallet and keys do in the real world.
Everything you want to know about Liquid Avatar
So, what exactly is a Liquid Avatar, how does it work and what’s the value behind it?
For starters, a Liquid Avatar is a high-quality, digital, image-based Personal Passport containing public and securely managed private information that a user can choose to share when they want and include only the information they want, just by sharing their image.
A simple way to think of a Liquid Avatar is to start with an Emoji in combination with a user’s public and permission-based, private authenticated data and amplified to a whole new level.
However, when designing Liquid Avatar, it was important to KABN’s principals that they not simply create a new process to replace outgoing online systems with something similar but create real value for individuals in a one-stop application for all their online activities.
Liquid Avatar is powered by KABN ID, providing users with a reusable, verified digital identity platform powered by blockchain-based technology and biometrics, ensuring that no two Avatar users are ever the same and also giving each user easy to use, complete and secure control over their image and connected information.
Moreover, each individual’s online Liquid Avatar has a unique digital certificate, which can only be accessed by a combination of username, password, and biometrics such as a face, voice print or fingerprint.
Liquid Avatar makes it easier to prove that “you are you” when a user is online, potentially reducing the risk of identity theft. By storing information securely, outside of the user’s phone, tablet, computer, etc., and having biometric access and control, the user can decide who sees what information, and when. Once a user is in the Liquid Avatar, it automatically verifies their identity when they conduct an online transaction, whether borrowing a book at an online library, logging in to take an exam, buying something, or transferring funds.
The digital certificate acts as a unique key online that institutions and businesses can recognize. However, businesses will need to be involved with KABN’s services in order to use the digital certificates and methods of identification. Scammers cannot replicate the key or the lock it fits on the other end. If your system detects the lack of a proper receipt by the site you are on, it can shut down the transaction.
The use of biometrics is increasingly important with e-commerce. For example, rather than providing the three-digit security code on the back of a card when paying online, which only proves you possess the plastic card, adding biometrics and a digital certificate to validate who a user is can potentially reduce fraud significantly.
“We have created a system for people to verify, manage, and prioritize their public and private information,” Kessler says.
“It is all opt-in,” he adds. “The era of private data abuse is over.”
Another key to making the new service practical for people’s real needs was to provide the ability to add one or more trusted individuals who could access your profile to gather information or make changes if needed. That person could be a spouse, a parent, or a child. For example, in an emergency, they can log in and ‘break the glass’ to access your information, perhaps to provide it to medical practitioners in an ER, or, to perhaps take down your social media accounts after death. They essentially act the same as a power of attorney in the physical world.
“Digital identity is addressable to 100 percent of the market and we built Liquid Avatar to tap into that market,” Kessler notes.
According to the Annual Worldpay Global Payments report, #digitalwallets are poised to represent half of the global e-commerce sales by 2023 and make up 52% of the market share#Fintech #DigitalBanking #BankingAlternatives— KABN (@KABNNETWORK) April 23, 2020
Learn more here: https://t.co/cLeVAeY98M pic.twitter.com/qNhYX6KXWT
For more information about KABN, visit their website here.
To learn more about Liquid Avatar, click here.
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