The Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate (“S&T”) has announced plans for a series of “technology challenges” over the course of the next year, dubbed “Remote Identity Validation Technology Demonstration” (RIVTD). And, as FindBiometrics notes in a new feature, it could prove to be a highly influential evaluation program with respect to the growing trend toward mobile ID.
The RIVTD program appears to be loosely modelled on a separate evaluation program aimed specifically at biometric technology vendors. Dubbed the “Biometric Technology Rally”, that program essentially invites private sector companies to compete against each other in tests that are designed to mimic real-world use cases for biometric tech, such as identifying travelers at an airport border control checkpoint.
Likewise, the RIVTD will be focused on technologies enabling accurate, secure, and streamlined remote identity verification, with the S&T’s announcement pointing to specific use cases such as remotely accessing government services, opening bank accounts, and even verifying social media accounts – a particularly interesting concern for the Department of Homeland Security in light of concerns about foreign interference in elections and Elon Musk’s chaotic attempts to revamp the Twitter platform and address its bot issue.
Selfie onboarding appears to be the central focus of the RIVTD program’s architects, and that is a logical approach given that it is already prominently used in remote account opening. It also has a growing role in the emerging trend of mobile driver’s license and other virtual IDs, with pioneers like Apple using selfie-based biometrics to match users to their physical identity documents. And this use case gets a special mention in S&T’s announcement of the RIVTD program, thanks to the involvement of the Transportation Security Administration in organizing it.
“TSA is very happy to be expanding our partnership with DHS S&T into remote identity validation,” commented TSA Identity Capability Manager Jason Lim. “The results of this demonstration will inform our understanding of the trust, security, privacy, and equity in the emerging digital identity space, including mobile driver’s license, where TSA has been a leading player working directly with key industry vendors and issuing authorities.”
Given that the TSA has already been working directly with Apple on ensuring that its mobile ID solution can be used at certain airports, the agency’s role in RIVTD is likely to help formalize the increasingly prominent role that mobile ID technology will play in proving identity – both online and in real-world settings – going forward.