05 May 2023

A digital future we can trust?

Digital trust is essential for ensuring a thriving digital economy. Why? Because our digital economy will only flourish if we prioritise identity, privacy and security alongside reliability and transparency, contributing to the overall user experience. Here’s our Digital Trust 101: 

What is digital identity?

Digital identity is proof of who you are online. It is a digital representation of your identity information and other attributes that you can use to prove who you are online, to access services digitally. 1

It can include a username, password, biometric data and other personal information including name, address, age and gender. Traditionally this information is requested and collected by a service provider as part of onboarding for an online service. Digital identities are used to authenticate users and provide access to online services, including banking, e-commerce websites, email, healthcare and social media platforms. 

What new technology is supporting digital identity?

There are several new technologies supporting digital identity including:

  • Decentralised technology – for example, blockchain technology, a more secure and privacy centric way to manage digital identities.  It enables users to control their own identity data and share it securely with others without the need for intermediaries.
  • Biometric authentication – including facial image matching and fingerprint scanning, when encrypted to avoid fraud, provide a more secure way to authenticate users than traditional passwords.
  • Self-sovereign identity (SSI) – is an implementation of decentralised technology to enable users to manage their own digital identities. 
  • Artificial intelligence (AI) – AI-powered identity verification tools  can analyse behaviour and patterns to help detect and prevent fraud.  
  • Internet of Things (IoT) – IoT refers to the network of physical devices including vehicles, home appliances and other items embedded with sensors, software and connectivity. They are connected to each other and the internet, allowing them to exchange data and create a smart system. These devices have a digital identity too and once verified as being bound to a person, they can be used to help authenticate users based on their physical location. For example, using a mobile device’s location or a smartwatch’s biometric sensor.

What is the regulatory landscape?

This year, new legislation will define the rules for the delivery of digital identity services in Aotearoa New Zealand by those service providers that choose to. The Digital Identity Services Trust Framework, other privacy and security guidance, legislation regulation are designed to build trust in the digital economy and promote safe and secure digital interactions.

What is digital trust?

Digital trust is the confidence that users have in the security, privacy and reliability of online interactions, services and transactions. Digital trust is essential for building strong and long-lasting relationships between users and digital platforms, including government services. 

How is digital trust linked to digital identity?

Digital identification is the foundation for digital trust. Before a transaction is conducted, an identity must be established, verified and confidence maintained. 

What role does digital trust play in the banking and finance industry?

Digital trust plays a crucial role by providing a secure and reliable means of verifying the identity of individuals and organisations in digital transactions. Digital identity’s function to identify, verify and authenticate customers lies at the heart of processes to authenticate payments, detect fraud and compliance requirements. It is becoming increasingly important for financial institutions to adopt robust digital identity solutions to protect their customers and maintain the reputation of the financial institution’s brands whilst reducing the financial risks associated with the service. 

What role does digital trust play in the retail industry?

Digital trust has a significant role in the retail industry by enabling personalised shopping experiences, improving customer engagement and enhanced instore and online security. By leveraging digital identity solutions, retailers can offer personalised shopping experiences, build customer loyalty, increase engagement, reduce fraud and build trust with their customers.

What role can digital identity play in the healthcare industry?

Digital identity is essential in the healthcare industry for improving patient care, increasing efficiency and ensuring regulatory compliance. Digital identity can be used to verify the identity of patients, reducing the risk of medical errors and fraud (for example, associated with improper drug supply and as a foundation to social benefits resulting from a health based condition.) It can also be used to ensure patient medical records are accurate and up-to-date. 

What key trends are being forecast in the global digital identity and trust landscape?

The global landscape is constantly evolving and is being driven by emerging technologies, regulatory frameworks and consumer expectations. Forecast trends include:

  • increased adoption of decentralised identity emergence and adoption of standards and solutions
  • greater emphasis on privacy and data protection
  • increased use of biometric identification and authentication 
  • greater integration of AI to improve accuracy, efficiency and security of online services
  • further collaboration between public and private sectors to develop and adopt digital identity services frameworks and legislation that are inclusive, interoperable and secure. 

What does the future hold for digital identity in New Zealand?

The future of digital identity is expected to be shaped by a range of factors including emerging technologies, regulatory frameworks and consumer expectations. These trends are likely to drive innovation and new solutions. Meanwhile, rapidly increasing complexity of the regulatory landscape for online service providers will require greater collaboration. Industry will need to collaborate more intensely to help the Government harmonise legislation, improve adoption and compliance with regulatory frameworks, while ensuring the user experience is predictable, transparent, safer and privacy focused.

A key development is the Digital Identity Services Trust Framework, which will provide guidance and standards based rules for the delivery of identity solutions in New Zealand, in parallel with existing and impending privacy and security legislation.

Waylon Kenning

Waylon Kenning

Director of Emerging Technology, MSD

Dr Warren Williams

Dr Warren Williams

Tumu Whakarae/Chief Executive, Katoa Connect Trust

Juliana Cafik

Juliana Cafik


Tākina Convention & Exhibition Centre