Think about how sacred your personal data used to be—dates of birth, social security numbers, passwords—vital pieces of information that you didn’t share with just anyone. But, since the advent of the digital age, millions of internet users have regularly been asked to turn over that data and more for a host of activities, from accessing government services to purchasing groceries online. The more users turn over personal information, the more vulnerable it can be to hackers who steal and monetize it for identity theft and other illegal purposes. Unfortunately, it is estimated that an astonishing 3,300 records are stolen every minute, that’s roughly 57 records per second.
Nearly two out of every three Americans had already experienced a major data breach before last year’s massive Equifax breach. As a result of these breaches, identity theft cost consumers $16.8 billion in 2017, not to mention the cost to business and government. Given the breadth of the compromises to our personal information, business and government need to fundamentally shift how they determine if people are who they say they are.
As chair of the Business Roundtable’s Technology Committee, I am committed to working with leaders from business and government to drive conversation, collaboration, and change on this issue. As a preliminary step, our committee has launched a digital identity initiative that includes companies representing all sectors of the economy that deliver products and services to American consumers through online platforms. Working together, we are exploring and developing new methods and practices that can better combat fraud, improve consumer privacy, and advance online security, while transforming customers’ experiences. Our hope is that together we will move closer to achieving peace of mind for consumers as they conduct their online activity securely.
As part of this initiative, the Business Roundtable is engaging with the broader stakeholder community to provide industry, members of Congress and members of the Trump Administration with an actionable roadmap that will significantly redefine and improve our approach to digital identity.
A report with policy recommendations will be released in the Fall of 2018.