The Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) spent five months last year working with Toronto-based SecureKey to test the company’s Verified.Me secure online login platform.
According to a January 19th, 2019 Canadian Press report, the platform would allow “government agencies and banks to share information securely and allow them to verify your identity quickly when you try to log in to their sites.”
In an email to MobileSyrup, the CRA expanded on its tests, explaining that the federal tax administrator worked with SecureKey to develop a proof-of-concept with the objective of studying “possible alternative solutions in our efforts to streamline service delivery particularly within the digital space.”
“The innovation is a decentralized system that will allow users to share their digital identity information easily and securely to participating organizations,” said a CRA spokesperson.
The CRA said it used simulated data and that “no personal information was exchanged between the participating parties.”
“Our tests were conducted in an internal test environment with no connection to any public-facing production environment,” the CRA wrote to MobileSyrup.
In addition to working with SecureKey, the CRA also tapped the British Columbia’s Chief Information Office Continuous Service Improvement Lab to provide simulated provincial identity information.
The CRA explained that it tested the Verified.Me platform through three distinct use cases.
The first experiment had the CRA accept taxpayer identity information from a financial institution as an “additional source of identity” to register an account through the Agency’s ‘My Account’ platform.
The second experiment had the CRA accept a taxpayer’s direct deposit information from a financial institution while using B.C. as an “authoritative source for identity validation.”
Finally, the CRA tested whether Verified.Me could be used to transfer a citizen’s proof of income statement to a bank.
The CRA said that the three organizations involved in the tests “worked together efficiently and effectively for the five-month joint project which ultimately achieved the objectives set by all participants.”
As a next step, the CRA told MobileSyrup that it plans on working with the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat to determine how a secure login platform “aligns with the vision on digital identity management.”
The Canadian Press reported that the platform won’t be ready for this year’s tax season, because more testing needs to be conducted before it can be launched publicly.
According to the Verified.Me website, the platform allows users to easily validate their identity online by using a smartphone app.
It’s worth noting that the platform itself isn’t publicly available yet.
Verified.Me promises that users will be able to “Take control of your information, from anywhere.”
The platform’s website lists all of Canada’s Big Five banks — RBC, TD Canada Trust, Scotiabank, BMO and CIBC — as well as smaller players National Bank, Desjardins and Sun Life Financial as “network participants.”
The CRA’s work with SecureKey was done through Public Services and Procurement Canada’s ‘Build in Canada Innovation Program.’
Among other requirements, eligible projects must fall within the federal government’s priority areas, include a minimum of 80 percent Canadian content, and cost no more than $500,000 for standard component innovations or $1,000,000 for military component innovations.
Source: Canadian Press
Sameer Chhabra is a recent graduate from the University of Western Ontario’s Master of Media in Journalism and Communication program. In his free time, Sameer can be found watching Aaron Sorkin-penned dramas and trying to learn about the stories that Canadians don’t know they don’t know.