Congressional Task Force Hears From Experts On Digital Identity Infrastructure

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The U.S. House Committee on Financial Services Task Force on Artificial Intelligence considered testimony on how emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and blockchain can contribute to building digital identity infrastructure.
United States Technology
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The U.S. House Committee on Financial Services Task Force on Artificial Intelligence considered testimony on how emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence ("AI"), machine learning ("ML") and blockchain can contribute to building digital identity ("ID") infrastructure.

At the hearing, the Task Force reviewed interoperability requirements and standards for advanced digital ID products given that the private sector and federal and state governments are each "moving at their own pace." The Task Force considered the use of AI for individual identification with attendant concerns around algorithmic bias; specifically, that (i) smartphone authentication has exhibited bias against women and minorities and (ii) biased and inaccurate data used to train AI systems can skew results, thereby improperly denying individuals access to benefits such as credit, housing or social services.

The Task Force highlighted regulatory actions on digital ID verification, including (i) Treasury's Financial Sector Innovation Policy Roundtable, (ii) the banking agencies' joint statement on innovative efforts to combat money laundering and terrorist financing and (iii) the CFPB's request for comment on consumer rights to access information.

The Task Force heard from the following people:

  • Jeremy Grant, Coordinator, The Better Identity Coalition, who advocated for the "Improving Digital Identity Act of 2021," introduced on June 30, 2021, by the Task Force Chair Congressman Bill Foster (D-IL), along with Congressmen John Katko (R-NY), Jim Langevin (D-RI) and Barry Loudermilk (R-GA). Grant called the proposed legislation the "single most important policy initiative the government can undertake to address the inadequacies of America's identity infrastructure" because it leverages the existing nationally recognized, authoritative identity systems to create digital counterparts to currently issued paper and plastic IDs.
  • David Kelts, Director of Product Development for Mobile ID at GET Group North America, who recommended initiating a public-private partnership regarding mobile driver's licenses, chartered to determine requirements for privacy and accuracy of identification.
  • Dr. Louise Maynard-Atem, Research Lead for the non-profit organization Women in Identity, who testified that inclusion requirements must be "specifically mandated" within any regulation or legislation in order for identity systems to be inclusive and bias-free.
  • Professor Elizabeth M. Renieris, Founding Director of the Notre-Dame-IBM Technology Ethics Lab at the University of Notre Dame, who recommended that Congress (i) recognize that digital ID is becoming critical infrastructure, (ii) take the lead on setting standards for digital ID, such as those in the Improving Digital Identity Act, that address AI/ML, (iii) institute guardrails around the use of digital ID systems that specify when and why ID can be required and (iv) ensure a public option that is not driven by profit maximization.
  • Victor Fredung, Chief Executive Officer of Shufti Pro, who testified that government agencies should implement AI/ML-modeled "intelligent digital [identity verification] solutions" that follow strict data privacy guidelines to combat identity fraud.

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