In an interview, the Minister for Cyber and Digital Security, Eric Kaer, gave evidence of auto insurance as an example. “This is not a government document, but it is mandatory, so we want to be able in our Quebec identity system to integrate documents that are not necessarily government documents.”
Eric Kaer adds that a credit card can also be integrated into a digital wallet. Gives an example of a consumer who buys alcohol from a grocery store. “With the convenience store terminal, you will be able to verify that you are of legal age to purchase alcohol and pay for the transaction. We would like you to be able to do both with a single tap on your smartphone.”
The minister acknowledges that involving private companies in the process adds a layer of complexity. In the convenience store example, the employee should have access to the information to confirm that you are of legal age and are the person you claim to be. However, he does not have to know your address or marital status. “There is some complication, but I think we will get there.”
Eric Cairo calls himself “the world of the Internet” and assures us that his ministry attaches great importance to information security. This digital identity must be extremely secure. “
Security breaches were revealed during the launch of the vaccine passport by whistleblower hackers. A group also managed to download the vaccination passport of the Prime Minister and a number of elected officials.
The Minister assures us that the security of the digital identity will be stronger. “With the immunization passport, the goal was to deploy it quickly, so that it would be easy to obtain, and easy to use. A digital wallet should be more secure than a vaccination passport. We have the time to do that and we have to do something that, in a secure way, should be more secure.”
As for concerns that digital identity will allow governments to monitor citizens, Eric Cairo asserts that he has provided safeguards to prevent abuse. The Quebec Information Access Commission acts as a “monitor” to prevent inappropriate use of the data. “It asks great questions. It is up to us to find the answers to make sure we can create a digital identity project that will be used to identify people, not monitor them.”
NAS and Biometrics
When asked if a Social Security Number (SIN), issued by the federal government, would be integrated into the digital wallet, Eric Kaer was less enthusiastic. “It’s a way that belongs in the twentieth century. We are in the twenty-first century, it should start to appear. It no longer has its place today in the way of getting to know someone.”
The theft of Desjardins customer data in 2019 and cases of fraudulent applications for Canada Emergency Benefits (CEP) recently demonstrated the inadequacies of the Social Security number, which still serves as an identifier for many financial and government services.
Minister Eric Cairo, who is discussing this issue with his federal counterparts, would like the NAS to be in limbo. “We can’t do it in a jiffy. We will have to do it over time [le NAS] Less and less useful until it becomes completely useless. “
Quebecers will also be able to activate their ID using biometrics, such as facial recognition or fingerprint recognition. If doing so is technologically feasible, users will have a choice between using it or not.
They may choose to use other means of identification, such as a password or identification questions. “We have the infrastructure so that we can use biometrics. From there, I would tell you that it is up to citizens to decide if they are comfortable using it.”
The minister said that non-technological options, such as the plastic card, will also remain available to people who are not comfortable with technology.
With the pictures on health insurance cards and driver’s licence, the government already has biometric tags in its databases, the minister’s nuances said. “Biometrics does not mean giving the Quebec government things you don’t already own. Biometrics involves authorizing the Quebec government to use it to identify you.”
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