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Report on Discussion Results Concerning Streamlined Approaches to Identity Proofing for Online Services Compiled

April 17, 2020

Aiming to promote dissemination and expansion of highly reliable online services, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) inaugurated a Study Group on Identity proofing for Online Services in January 2019, and since then, the study group has been holding discussions on ideal approaches to online identity proofing. METI hereby announces that the study group compiled its discussion results into a report.

1. Background to inaugurating the study group

Along with the expansion and dissemination of the internet, an increasing number of online services have been provided to, as a premise, individuals who physically exist, and this increase is also raising the importance of identity verification of users by online service providers. The process for identity verification should be conducted in parallel with advancing “authentication,” e.g., ID passwords and biometric authentication, as well as advancing “identity proofing,” in which online service providers verify the physical existence of users in accordance with the features of the services.

In light of this situation, the study group, consisting of experts as members, held discussions and compiled the discussion results into a report mainly focusing the following three points, and METI hereby releases the report.

Note: The activities of the study group were conducted as part of the NEDO project, titled “Project for Promoting Sharing Data on Harmonization Areas and Development of AI Systems in Order to Promote the Connected Industries Policy: Study on Ideal Approaches to Identification by Streamlining Demand for Identification for Online Services and by Taking Advantage of APIs Therefor,” which was commissioned to PwC Consulting LLC.

2. Highlights of the report

  1. The report clarifies the difference in ideas between “identity proofing” and “authentication” and confirms the definitions of the respective terms.
  2. It streamlines indices to judge risks in businesses as a reference for online service providers in deciding on the need for identity proofing of users.
  3. It focuses on ideal approaches with medium strength for identity proofing and examines the potential of using APIs for data,* which are provided by financial institutes and information carriers.

*Note: These APIs mean Application Programing Interfaces, the part of which companies have publicized to allow sharing of functions with other software. Publicizing APIs online will permit  external persons to access the publicized part.

Note: The issues that the study group discussed exclude the identity proofing for online services which is stipulated under laws. The report is a compilation of the results of the study group’s discussions on ideal approaches to identity proofing for other online services.

METI expects that, based on the discussion results, people in society will raise awareness of the importance of identity proofing and that more and more online services will disseminate in a more healthy, reliable manner.

3. Related documents

Division in Charge

IT Innovation Division, Commerce and Information Policy Bureau