Key industry players team up for mobile ID certification

2019-07-14 : 17:31

Hana Financial Group Chief Future Innovation Officer Han Jun-seong, left, and senior officials from Woori Bank, KOSCOM, SK Telecom, KT, LG UPlus and Samsung Electronics hold copies of a signed memorandum of understanding at The Plaza Seoul, Autograph Collection, July 12. Courtesy of KEB Hana Bank

By Lee Kyung-min

A consortium of three financial services firms, three mobile carriers and a tech giant has forged a business partnership to launch a blockchain-based form of mobile identification in 2020, industry sources said Sunday.

The participants are KEB Hana Bank, Woori Bank, KOSCOM, SK Telecom, KT, LG UPlus and Samsung Electronics.

They will develop a technology to help establish a “self-sovereign identity,” a new form of identification that will remove the involvement of intermediaries ― mostly government-certified or publicly run entities that manage personal data ― thereby enabling individuals and organizations to assert their identity in online transactions.

The consortium-developed mobile system will allow an individual to store key personal information including resident registration numbers, bank account numbers and use them whenever the need arises.

In the process, the risk of fraud will be removed as blockchain tech is known to be resistant to data modification, one reason it is considered an efficient, verifiable and permanent method of keeping a record of transactions between parties.

Another strong point is that the data recorded cannot be easily altered retroactively, which helps ensure accountability.

“The project will create the strongest possible synergy effect as the participants are top leaders in their respective fields,” the consortium said in a statement.

Financial services firms, it added, have provided the safest, most secure certification services thus far, telecom companies have extensive experience in managing stable mobile services with ample potential to embrace blockchain tech.

Further, Samsung Electronics, a global leader in the mobile tech industry, will help ensure the safe and secure management of the stored data with Samsung Knox, an enterprise mobile security solution pre-installed in most of its smartphones, tablets and wearables.

“Cooperation among ICT, telecom and financial services will help people experience new and advanced services,” it added.

The consortium will seek more partners in 2020 including large businesses, universities, hospitals, insurers, entertainment facilities, resort and country clubs.

The plan seeks to broaden the envisioned service to remove hiring irregularities via the certification of academic records and diplomas, insurance fraud via certification of treatment and compensation records as well as automatic discounts at amusement parks and movies.

In line with the initiative, a separate joint project between KEB Hana Bank and Korea University are in progress to shorten the waiting period for issuing a student identification card with debit card function incorporated.

It will take only about three days for a student to have a new ID issued, significantly shorter than three weeks, the previously required minimum period.

This will be possible as data and content sharing among relevant departments of the two entities will be enhanced, requiring no in-person submission of related papers.