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Tackling 4 key identity challenges with mobile data

Our mobiles have become a natural extension of our identities, and now more than ever they provide a key part of the puzzle when building trust with an identity.  

We can trust identities in a number of ways: verifying the data we’re labelled with, such as our names and addresses, validating the things we have, such as documents and devices, confirming genuine presence with biometrics, using our faces and fingerprints, and authenticating us by our behaviours.  

As individuals we are so dependent on our mobile devices, they are almost a part of us. And as technology improves the reach and adoption of mobile, the insights they generate increases. 

Here’s how mobile can help to overcome four key identity challenges:

1. How do I match attribute data against a trusted source?

Traditionally this has relied on name, address and DOB using government sources or credit header data. These sources present challenges, such as global coverage, thin files, data recency and data theft/breaches. 

In most global markets there is a level of validation a mobile operator conducts when you apply for a phone contractThis involves a DOB, a billing address and critically a unique mobile number.  

This number is something that we often hold onto longer than we do an address, or even a surname. We don’t ever shorten it, spell it differently or translate it into different languages. And what’s even more powerful, we can always be contacted on it. So when matching data, it fits perfectly as a trusted and relevant source.  

2. How do I validate the things someone has? 

Documents are critical and key to the future of authentication, but mobiles are a vital element in authenticating.  

Not only is the phone critical to allow you to verify a document, but in itself it is an extremely powerful way to begin to authenticate and trust an identity. One Time Passcodes are seen as trusted by individuals, but also the checks that can be done on mobile such as sim swap, porting or call forwarding are incredibly powerful when trusting an identity  

3. How do I understand and trust someone through their behaviours? 

Behaviour is often thought to be physical – such as the way we move or hold our devices, but the things we do on our phones is useful for understanding a user too. 

We all have different personal relationships and a huge percent of take place through a mobile device.  

It may be the frequency of calls or text messages sent on a network that indicate a person is real and not a bot, or the number of other devices a mobile is linked to that established trust that it is not fraudulent. It might even be how many photos that device has taken, how many calendar entries or how many contacts it has saved that give you the confidence an identity can be trusted and isn’t synthetic.  

By using technology we can safely understand how much trust you can place in an identity being genuine and being presented by its legitimate owners.  

4. How to I validate someone’s biometrics?

While a phone holds no data to validate someone’s biometrics, it is a critical enabler of verifying biometrics. In a journey that takes place on mobile, or even across channels, it is really important that you understand the device performing the biometrics.   

For example, if an individual starts a journey on a laptop and then moves to a mobile device, can you understand that relationship? When a face is being presented for liveness on a mobile device, what does the IP address teach you about that device?  

‘Exciting’ 

Mobile data’s ability to tackle these key identity challenges is what makes it so exciting. To make a difference to your identity journey you don’t need to do all, but you can start by adding the mobile layers to your system that will help you build greater trust in an identity.  


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