July 19, 2021

Contact: Jeff Lenard; (703) 518-4272

Congress Explores Digital ID; TruAge Is Part of Discussion

NACS submitted written testimony as part of a House Financial Services Committee task force hearing.

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Congress took a closer look at digital identification Friday in a hearing that included written testimony submitted by NACS on behalf of its innovative age-verification program called TruAge.

The House Financial Services Committee task force on artificial intelligence's hearing, "I Am Who I Say I Am: Verifying Identity While Preserving Privacy in the Digital Age," is the first of what could be several hearings that look more closely at the issue of maintaining privacy in the age of digital identification.

NACS submitted written testimony focused on age verification and TruAge, a groundbreaking digital identification solution that enhances current age-verification systems at retail points of sale and protects user privacy.

"TruAge has been designed with privacy in mind. Importantly, the system is built to identify age, not identity," noted NACS in its testimony.

NACS worked with its standards-setting partner, Conexxus, and Digital Bazaar, a recognized leader in open standard digital identity, to develop TruAge. TruAge was announced during the May 2021 NACS Leadership Forum. The system uses a customer's date of birth and photo to verify identity. When confirming age and identity, one-time-use tokens are placed on the customer's mobile device to confirm legal age to purchase age-restricted products. With payments and commerce going digital, TruAge uses the technology to verify the age of purchasers of age-restricted products.

TruAge incorporates emerging industry standards on identity championed by the World Wide Web Consortium, U.S. Department of Homeland Security SVIP program and other standards-setting bodies to assure privacy while increasing reliability of age verification. Most importantly, it preserves the relationship between the consumer and identity issuer without the risk of a private third party having to be involved, therefore returning identity control to the consumer.

The system uses ID-validation and age-calculation procedures that are not available with a standard ID card. The digital version of TruAge provides single-use digital tokens that eliminate all personal information needed to verify age in any transaction—a capability that satisfies emerging privacy regulations and reduces the risk of identity theft.

"This is the model of what reliable verification systems that respect privacy can look like," noted NACS in written testimony…. (W)e hope that this provides the Committee with useful background that will help foster public policy supporting this type of solution to everyone's benefit."

TruAge already is being used and is demonstrating its success. It has been used in several stores in West Virginia as an initial test, and it has proven its interoperability with the new digital Permanent Residence Card being developed by DHS/UCIS. There will be pilots conducted at stores in Texas in the third quarter of this year, with a wider launch of the program in the fourth quarter.

"The goal is for TruAge to be universally accepted at all physical and online retailers nationwide where age-restricted products are sold. That will make the program more effective and more convenient for consumers," noted NACS in testimony.