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Bluink is Developing a Smart ID Service for Ontarians

As society continues to grow and scale, the need for reliable security and privacy features is paramount.

Bluink realizes this growing concern and has announced that they will develop eID-Me, a secure digital identity carried on user smartphones. This initiative comes in response to a Digital Identity Program problem statement as part of Ontario’s Small Business Innovation Challenge (SBIC). The problem statement was issued by the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services.

The problem the government put forward revolved around finding a common, secure and user-friendly way for Canadians to prove who they are. The SBIC is delivered by the Ontario Centres of Excellence and helps SMEs like Ottawa-based Bluink Ltd. launch their innovations from an idea stage and become globally competitive products or services.

“SBIC is part of the expanding field of innovation-based procurement, in which the public sector is a first customer of innovation,” says Dr. Tom Corr, president and CEO of OCE. “Innovation-based procurement drives better experiences and value-for-money for all of us as consumers of government services while also driving the creation of high-quality jobs and economic activity in Ontario.”

EID-Me is designed to let Ontarians easily prove their identity for both online and face-to-face services. It comes with strong privacy features and no password necessary. The service will look to reduce human error, fraud and identity theft as more people in the province turn to mobile and online access services. Smartphone penetration in Ontario is expected to reach 68 per cent in 2018.

“Bluink’s eID-Me provides a convenient mobile user experience,” reads a statement. “Ontarians who have existing Ontario identity records, such as health card, driver’s license, or age of majority, will be able to register for eID-Me directly from their smartphones.”

The number one thing eID-Me will do is remove the need for many citizens to travel to ServiceOntario brick and mortar locations and instead fill everything out at home. The service, when used online, will let users login to government and third-party services without passwords and enable secure identity-proofing. When fully implemented, eID-Me could be sued any time a health card or driver’s license is needed, from entering bars to filling out hospital forms.

The difficulty comes with balancing convenience with security and privacy. The service needs to be easy, but cannot be vulnerable in any sense of the word. Strong encryption will be used to prevent every kind of popular theft technique, and identity claims will not be tampered with without invalidating the digital signature.

In every transaction, the user will always see who is asking for their information as well. This prevents stolen information on the other side as well, even more so than the current system. Bluink wants to imagine a province where the clerk at a liquor store will only see an age and photo, without a name or address. Users will have full control over their personal identity with unprecedented security.

Bluink will develop the system over the next year and look to roll out pilot deployments in fall 2018.