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Mobiles and identity

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Events, Industry and market engagement, Research

Once upon a time a mobile phone was just a phone that you could take when you left the house. Now nearly every digital device is a 'mobile' and mobile identity is becoming more and more important.

In February, I attended the GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.  It's the main event for the mobile industry and gets bigger every year. I was there to learn about the mobile industry and present the work we are doing in the identity assurance programme.

The GSMA and Mobile Connect

The GSMA is the trade association for the mobile industry and the organiser of Mobile World Congress. Identity was an important focus for them at the event. During the Congress they announced the launch of ‘Mobile Connect’.

Mobile Connect is a simple and safe way for users to sign in to online services using their mobile device. It adheres to the standard of the recently launched OpenID Connect. OpenID Connect is a standard that supports a single sign-in mechanism that could work on any website.

The GSMA hope to unlock economic and customer benefits by working with us, and our partners, to develop the open standards for mobile identity.

Working in collaboration

The collaboration between the GSMA and OpenID Connect supports our general approach. The identity assurance programme is involved in similar collaborations to resolve design issues and develop open standards for identity assurance. Collaboration reduces costs and risks for all parties.

The Open Identity Exchange (OIX) coordinates these projects and ensures that they are open and transparent.

The Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) are also conducting an example project with identity providers.  The project will design and build a prototype. The prototype will show how mobile can assist identity providers in delivering their services. We'll also consider the commercial basis under which the service is delivered for use in public or private sector transactions.

Practical approach

These projects explore complex aspects of identity assurance through practical activity. The activity focuses on specific and measurable outcomes. Participants see the benefit of working together to address user needs. Together, we hope this will create a more trustworthy digital 'ecosystem' for transactions.

OIX are publishing the project findings in white papers.

Crucial to the future

Open identity standards will play an important part in how people manage their identity and personal data. Standards are the plumbing of the internet - particularly when it comes to mobile. These projects are crucial in growing our understanding and improving service design.  We will post about the findings and future projects on the blog.

As ever, we welcome your comments.

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