KNOW Identity Conference brings together influencers in the identity management industry - DC


Mar. 30, 2018 11:21 am

KNOW Identity Conference brings together influencers in the identity management industry

“In the best case scenario, identity is like plumbing: it’s seamless and no one ever sees it.”

Travis Jarae, CEO of OWI, at the KNOW Identity Conference.

(Photo via Twitter)

The KNOW Identity Conference took place on March 26 through March 28 in D.C., bringing together players from the identity industry.

The conference included a pitch competition for startups, in which local company Guppy was a finalist, and a hackathon that had a $25,000 grand prize.

Never heard of the identity industry? As ironic that may seem, it’s likely that most of the organizations in the industry keep something of a low profile.

There’s the sharing economy companies like Airbnb and Lyft, and banks and fintech companies like Visa and Capital One. And then there’s authentication providers like RSA, global identity verification service outfit Trulioo, and biometric registered traveler program CLEAR.

Yet, a host of other companies you may not know of, including many tech startups, are helping out with cybersecurity, risk management, and trust and safety issues.

“In the best case scenario, identity is like plumbing: it’s seamless and no one ever sees it,” said Travis Jarae, CEO of One World Institute.

“It works perfectly. You can pick up a device and it’s private, secure and you can use a credential and it works wonderfully,” said Jarae, formerly the Global Head of Identity Verification at Google before taking the lead at OWI.

OWI brought the conference together for the second time in D.C, announcing the launch of its OWI Institute to help educate and train professionals to prepare for the future of the digital identity space.

“[For consumers] it means our devices are secure, our homes are secure, and we can use our credentials anywhere in the world. [Our identity] is universal; it’s portable. And everyone in the world has one,” said Jarae.

But there’s a lot of work to do: 1.1 billion people around the world don’t have IDs, and cannot prove their identity according to The World Bank. And businesses must now must find ways to make sure they abide by Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) rules.


While the big tech companies are innovating rapidly in the digital identity verification space, there was still plenty of skepticism about whether they can handle the job expressed at the conference with Facebook taking a lot of the heat right after it was revealed that Cambridge Analytica gained unauthorized use of the personal data of millions of users.

Scott Galloway, founder of L2, and professor at the New York University Stern School of Business, fed into the recent wave of backlash against big tech during his keynote, by calling for big tech companies, mainly the FAANGs, or Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and Google, to be broken up similar to how AT&T was split into “Baby Bells” during the early 80s.

For its part, European Union has been looking to increasingly regulate tech companies with the “right to be forgotten” and new GDPR rules that were adopted in 2016.

“We don’t break these guys up because they’re evil. We don’t break them up because they destroy jobs. We break these guys up because we are capitalists,” said Galloway.

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