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…and then at some point your digital ID, which you need to exist at all, will be invalidated for disregard for whatever.

Québec is considering the possibility of accepting documents issued by private companies, such as B. Proof of insurance, to include in its digital identity portfolio, which is planned to be introduced in 2025.

The digital identity folder is intended to include proof of identity issued by the Quebec government, such as a health insurance card, birth certificate or driver’s license. The government is in talks financial institutionsto explore the possibility of including non-governmental documents in the portfolio.

In an interview, Minister for Cybersecurity and Digital Affairs Eric Caire gave proof of car insurance as an example. “It’s not a government document, but it’s mandatory, so in our Quebec identity system we want to be able to integrate documents that aren’t necessarily government documents.”

The credit card could also be integrated into the digital wallet, adds Caire. He gives the example of a consumer buying alcohol in a convenience store. “The convenience store terminal would allow you to certify that you are of legal drinking age and pay for the transaction. We would appreciate it if you were able to do both in a single gesture with your smartphone.”

The involvement of private companies in the process adds another layer of complexity, the minister acknowledges. In the convenience store example, the clerk must have access to the information to verify that you are of legal age and that you are who you say you are. However, he does not need to know your address or your marital status. “There’s a certain complexity, but I think we’ll get through it.”

Security, always security

Caire describes himself as a “cyberparanoid” and affirms that his department places great importance on the security of information. “It is absolutely necessary that this digital identity is extremely secure there.”

When the vaccination card was introduced, alarming hackers uncovered security gaps. One group even managed to download the prime minister’s and several MPs’ vaccination records.

The minister assures that the security of digital identity will be more robust. “The goal for the vaccination card was that it should be implemented quickly, be easy to obtain and easy to use. the digital wallet must be much safer than the vaccination card. We have the time for that and we need to do something that needs to be protected a lot more in a safe way.”

As for the fear that digital identity could allow governments to monitor citizens, Caire assures that he has guard rails in place to prevent excesses. The Quebec Information Access Commission acts as a “watchdog” to prevent inappropriate use of the data. ‘ She asks excellent questions. It’s up to us to find the answers to ensure we’re able to create a digital identity project that will serve to identify people, not monitor them.”

SIN and biometrics

When asked if the federal government-issued Social Security Number (SIN) would be integrated into the digital wallet, Caire was less than enthusiastic. “It’s a remedy from the 20th century. We are in the 21st century, it should start to appear. It has no place in the way you can identify someone today.”

The theft of Desjardins’ customer data in 2019 and instances of fraudulent Canadian Emergency Benefit (CUP) claims have recently exposed the shortcomings of the SIN, which still serves as an identifier for many financial and government services.

Minister Caire, who is discussing the issue with his federal counterparts, would like the SIN to be phased out. “We can’t do this with a snap of our fingers. We will [die SIN] have to make it less and less useful over time, eventually becoming completely useless.”

Québec residents will also be able to activate their ID using biometric methods such as facial recognition or fingerprint recognition. If it is technologically possible to do this, users will have a choice whether or not to make use of it.

You will be able to choose other means of identification, such as passwords or identification questions. “We have the infrastructure so that we can use biometrics. From there I would tell you that it is up to the citizens to decide if they feel comfortable using them.”

Even non-technological options like the plastic card will continue to be offered for people who are not comfortable with the technology, the minister assures.

With the photos on the health insurance card and the driver’s license, the government already has biometric markers in its databases, the minister said. “Biometrics doesn’t mean giving the Quebec government something it doesn’t already have. Biometrics means you allow the Quebec government to use them to identify you.”

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