Imagine that Dr. Evil pats her pussy, squeezing her eyes, saying “let’s turn a million people into our mints” and ends it with a great laugh. But number 2 is not impressed, he has a cough in his hand and says “We can reach hundreds of millions of users already!” Dr. Evil has gone too far – he does not know that through a single technology he can reach many online users.
What is Mobile Connect?
The Mobile Connect Working Group, under GSMA’s Personal Data Program, has been promoting a federated identity solution for mobile network operators for some time. The idea is simple. Online users provide exactly the same user experience as those who do not use any services and authenticate them using their mobile device. Even better, users on the other side of the world who use a local service can be certified for the federative nature of the technology.
This approach quickly puts a convenient and easy-to-use authentication method in the hands of hundreds of people. They can authenticate themselves to online services with their most loved gadget, their phones. Any more new passwords, no more click one-time-password generators lost, or batteries run out.
Too good to be true? Yes and no There is a possibility for Mobile Connect to actually disrupt the market for authentication. The basic idea is solid and easy enough for anyone. Mobile network operators are interested in deploying Mobile Connect Authenticators to their customers and they want to “lean forward”.
Authenticators are smart phone apps, SIM applications or other ways with which end users can use their mobile devices as authentication tokens. By leaning forward, I mean that the success of the initiative depends on online service providers and their willingness to adopt an easy to use, federated and secure way of customer authentication.
Thousands of online services use Facebook, Google or other social identities to enable easy registration and authentication for their sites.
For us end users, it is easy if we keep a social media account and are ready to share our profile with the service. It has become the norm, but there are problems with it. I do not like to share my profile with online services very keenly. What if Facebook decides to change its policies and hand over everything I’ve written and posted to third parties? They have done strange things in the past. Personally, I’m not too worried about it. It just feels uncomfortable and I think some fellow online users share this feeling. The second challenge that bothers me personally is wholesale tracking. After viewing the website for used cars I don’t have to constantly see car ads on my Facebook feed.
Not all of us have social media accounts
but there are few more mobile subscriptions in the world where social media accounts are there and mobile connect also works with older phones. You do not have to have the latest iPhone or Android device to benefit from Mobile Connect. For online service providers, Mobile Connect can bring a lot to the table when talking about identifying your users. It may not be as simple or as easy as social identity, because you have to dig your phone, but it is a minor problem.
Mobile Connect technology assures trust
A major issue is the concept known as level of assurance. Around 10% of Facebook accounts are fake or fake, depending on where you look (or Google). With the amount of Facebook accounts, this is a large number. An online service provider can only rely on social media identity until now. Specifications of mobile connect inventory assurance levels between 1–4. The higher the number, the stronger the authentication. So, Level of Assurance (LOA) will provide some seriously strong authentication to 3-4 online service providers in the form of a mobile PKI, for example, where signed keys are stored in a secure element (SIM).
Authentication is only part of the benefits. The second part is that in most cases these identities have been suitably altered at some point. Post-paid plans, pre-paid etc. credit cards with automatic top-ups, etc. are included and in some countries you cannot receive pre-payment without some form of identity verification in point-of-sale, let alone a post. Make – Membership.
Mobile Connect helps reduce risk and improve sales
Our online identity is defined through features. Phone number is one of those features, but there are more. Our mobile network operator accounts have a ton of other useful features that can help fight fraud for example.