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The Significance of Relying Parties within IDESG

By Matthew Thompson

According to a recent Gallup Poll, (link is external) Americans worry more about having their credit card information stolen than any other crime. The survey also found that more than one in four Americans have had their information hacked within the past year. The rising costs of identity theft have negatively affected our nation’s economy and have eroded public confidence. IDESG is working very hard to change this.

At (link is external), we developed digital identification technology that allows members of the military, students and other consumer groups to securely prove their identities online in order to claim exclusive benefits from retailers. What makes our verification solutions stand out from other ID services is the fact that we focus on the real problems that actual businesses/relying parties are facing related to trusted IDs. These issues are what drive our solution as opposed to developing a great solution and then identifying a problem that it could solve.

Another major priority of is expanding the adoption of our technology among other providers of services or relying parties so that they may bring certain programs online that had traditionally been limited to offline channels or manual verification. With our solution, consumers’ information is not being sold to marketers and they are not being targeted. It’s a win-win situation all around – being open and transparent enhances loyalty and trust and the individual has access to benefits and services online without worry or concern.

Our commitment to the NSTIC vision has helped us be successful. We’ve been adaptable at solving real business needs for hundreds of relying parties across ecommerce, as well as state and federal governments. Our trusted ID solution has increased revenue for these companies and increased citizen use and adoption of many government applications for many benefits programs and services.

But the bottom line is that none of this really matters without adoption and none of this benefits any party unless people are using the technology. Relying parties want a sense of assurance that they are driving real business value (e.g., revenue, reduction in fraud) and the end user wants to feel they are in control. The good news is that there is strength in numbers – as the number of relying parties in our network grows, the larger their customer base grows.

Within the IDESG, we need more relying party participation. In fact, attracting relying parties into the identity ecosystem should be a primary and common vision among everyone involved and a responsibility we all share. The IDESG needs to hear from relying parties about the challenges they are having with online identity, security and privacy. These case studies are critical to guiding the development of the Identity Ecosystem Framework (IEF). We need to encourage and engage relying parties to want to be involved in creating an IEF of standards and processes that will enable interoperability of secure, convenient, privacy-enhancing identity solutions online. It is in both their interest and ours.

It is vitally important for each and every member of IDESG to bring relying parties to the table. The success of our organization depends on it and I am fully committed to it. We need to promote the good work that IDESG is doing and entice more relying parties to join our efforts. Most see the value in the NSTIC aligned principles, but have yet to commit to being part of IDESG. Sadly right now, we have just a small handful of relying parties as stakeholders (about seven). It’s imperative that we make the relying party stakeholder category the largest stakeholder group within IDESG and I ask for your support in reaching this goal.

Matt serves on the Management Council of IDESG and is the Founder and Chief Operating Officer at He has a Master’s of Business Administration from Harvard Business School and served four combat deployments as an Army Ranger.