Vancouver Tech Podcast Ep. 100: Digital Identification with Joni Brennan

Joni Brennan DIACC President

Joni Brennan, president of the Digital Identification and Authentication Council of Canada, joins host Drew Ogryzek to discuss digital identity, and some of the challenges, dangers, and benefits associated with it.

Brennan is working on trying to solve some of the problems with digital identity, such as storage of personal information across multiple sites, including photocopies of driver’s licenses, having too many user ids and passwords, and many breaches of data, in ways that allow us to unlock opportunities for Canadians, and globally. What we do here in Canada, the DIACC hopes to bring out across the digital economy and to the world.

An identity could be defined as a passport, or a permanent residency card. Brennan says she likes to think of an identity as being a construct of a village. When answering the question ‘who am I’, a large part of the answer is based upon making a claim that we are something, and having that claim reinforced by a third party, often dependent on the context. In the digital world, there are still many challenges in moving from one context to the next.

Within the digital identity landscape, the focus for people working on these issues, has shifted to what is called verified claims. Claims can be age, address, type of entity. Verifying these specific claims can be more interesting than verifying all of the potential attributes that could possibly go into making an identity. For example, we might simply need to know, whether a person is of age to purchase liquor.

If we focus on answering the question of whether a given entity has access, we can also have data minimization, which Brennan describes as being not only a privacy measure, but also a security measure. It then becomes a question of what is the smallest amount of information that can be provided, then verified to obtain access.

Listen in to hear the whole discussion, including how technology like blockchain can help solve some of the problems of claim verification and access to information.

Theme music by A Shell In The Pit from the game Parkitect

The Vancouver Tech Podcast is a weekly show focusing on the growing tech industry in the city of Vancouver. Get caught up on the events and meetups around town, startups, new businesses, developers, designers, community programs, and news. Each episode includes an interview with an outstanding member of our community.

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Drew Ogryzek

Drew Ogryzek

As a software developer, lead organizer of HackerNest Vancouver, organizer of the Vancouver Tech Meetup, and founder of the Vancouver Tech Podcast, Drew is very active in Vancouver's tech community. Find him on Twitter at @drew_bro