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On the internet, nobody knows you’re a toaster

On the internet, nobody knows you’re a dog, New Yorker cartoonist Peter Steiner wrote in 1993. The 25-year old satire of digital identity remains relevant today – except advances in technology means the dog could actually be a fridge. Or a toaster. 

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Speaking to bluenotes on video, Australian Payments Network Chief Strategy Officer Victoria Richardson said building a digital-identity system in Australia was vital as technological developments forced more retail and financial services online.

“The importance of digital identity is all about building trust online,” she said. “In an open-banking environment digital identity is an enabler.”

When the internet first kicked off there was no trust, Richardson said, and as online technology has evolved the issue hasn’t been solved.  

“In an open-banking environment digital identity is an enabler.” - Victoria Richardson

“That’s inherently problematic for people and businesses transacting online,” she said.

Richardson said while no digital identity system currently exists in Australia, the country could take inspiration – and lessons – from overseas.

“It’s really important to bootstrap what other countries have done,” she said. “There are lots of benefits in being a fast follower.”

“In many countries there’s mandated government digital identity which has enabled private-sector services to build out of that.”

In others, private and public sectors have worked together to deliver an effective system, Richardson said. But for any system to succeed, the most-import thing is securing user support, she said.  

“We have to offer a service people inherently and intrinsically want to use,” Richardson said.  

Watch the video above to find out more.

Anne Collard is Head of Payments Capabilities & Industry at ANZ

The views and opinions expressed in this communication are those of the author and may not necessarily state or reflect those of ANZ.

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