17 June 2024

The digital trust revolution

Executive Education
| The European |

As our world moves online, successful businesses will combine cast-iron consumer trust with a fluid user experience, writes Amir Nooriala of Callsign 

Consumer trust has been shaken by fake news over the pandemic. Edelman’s 2021 Trust Barometer found that trust in news sources hit record lows and traditional media (44%) saw the largest drop in trust at 13 points for the UK. Interestingly, businesses have emerged as the most trusted institutions, higher than NGOs, governments, and the media.

This is especially encouraging because of the pivot to digital that many organisations have had to make over the last 18 months. There is an opportunity for businesses to build on this lead and revolutionise the way they build trust in their digital services.

Acknowledging the importance of our digital identity will unlock trust in online services, from social media to mobile banking. However, we need a fundamental revolution in how we establish and verify identities in our online interactions.

Some organisations don’t verify online identities when consumers join their platforms, meaning bogus accounts and synthetic identities can be set up for rogue and abusive activity. Other organisations only focus on the first online interaction, such as a log-in to an online account, which means that consequential activity goes unchecked. 

Both approaches erode trust in the technology used to authenticate our digital identities, and with it trust in the interaction chain, for example communications, purchases, and even online reviews and social media posts.

Securing our online presence
As societies and economies move online it is vital that we change how we confirm someone’s identity online – their digital identity. Where previously technology has been deployed to identify fraudulent activity, technology today allows us to accurately identify genuine users and let them get on with their digital lives.

Rather than just focusing on finding fraudsters, companies can use technology such as behavioural biometrics to positively identify genuine users rather than just identifying potential fraud. By drawing on thousands of data points unique to the individual, this more dynamic technique applies increased scrutiny to each user’s activity, allows for a smoother user experience, and builds up a digital identity of each person. 

This enables organisations to learn the devices, times, and methods that individuals use to log-in and develop an understanding of their genuine behaviours, not just using an AI predicted model which could be accused of bias or inaccuracies.

Layering contextual data, including device, threat detection, and cryptography, along with behavioural biometrics to positively identify users means there is less reliance on a small amount of evidence, for example a password which doesn’t necessarily prove the person is who they say they are. 

The approach of positive identification implements an innocent until proven guilty stance because it means genuine users can log-in until there’s a real reason for concern.

Offering a solution without invading user privacy
On top of this behavioural identification, organisations layer the principles of data obfuscation and minimisation. The volume of personally identifiable data that is shared to guarantee identity is minimised to secure communications and protect user privacy at the same time. A layered approach to securing digital identities offers an effective solution without invading individual user privacy, and without increasing friction in the user experience. 

Customers must know that their digital identities and personal information is protected, otherwise these newly minted digital services will never be a source of sustainable growth. We have the tools to lead a scalable and reliable revolution in digital trust – and we need to make it happen now.

About the author 

Amir Nooriala is Chief Commercial Officer at Callsign.Callsign is a pioneer of digital trust through technology that helps positively identify genuine customers.

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