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Thursday, September 8, 2022

GSMA Improves Women’s Digital Safety With Mobile Tokenisation

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By Ashley Olson Onyango, Head of Monetary Inclusion and AgriTech 

The beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the shift in how individuals get entry to data, providers and conduct enterprise. As governments in most nations applied laborious lockdowns to curb the unfold of the pandemic, cell phones allowed individuals to remain linked and entry crucial providers and data. This contributed to the expansion of cellular web utilization, with over 3 billion individuals in low- and middle-income nations (LMICs) now accessing the web on the palms of their fingers. In LMICs, the vast majority of girls personal a cell phone and over half now use cellular web. Nonetheless, in comparison with males, girls are seven per cent much less more likely to personal a cell phone and 15 per cent much less seemingly to make use of cellular web. That is significantly evident amongst girls who’re essentially the most underserved, together with these with low literacy, low incomes, who reside in a rural areas or have a incapacity. 

The wide-ranging advantages of cellular expertise are evident within the on a regular basis lifetime of underserved communities, particularly in LMICs. Not solely do cell phones allow entry to voice and communication providers, however they’re additionally usually the one solution to entry the web and digital monetary providers akin to cellular cash. Entry to cellular cash accounts may help to unlock quite a lot of safe and life-enhancing providers together with financial savings, credit score and insurance coverage merchandise and utilities. Enhancing girls’s uptake and use of cellular providers and cellular cash can cut back the gender hole, providing girls the prospect of better empowerment and autonomy over their private and monetary affairs and serving to them change into more and more digital residents. 

The necessity for ladies’s security in cellular expertise  

In lots of components of the world, cellular community operators are working to grasp and handle the assorted limitations that ladies face making an attempt to entry and use cellular expertise. Together with social norms and discrimination, one of many key limitations embody these regarding security and safety.  

Whereas entry to cell phones may help girls really feel safer, they will also be a conduit for threats, highlighting the inconsistent relationship between cellular expertise and girls’s security. Such inconsistencies can act as a barrier to entry and utilization; limiting a girls’s use or possession of a cell phone altogether. 

One of many major ways in which girls can really feel unsafe when utilizing cellular expertise is thru mobile-related harassment, together with unsolicited telephones calls and textual content messages. That is partially because of the misuse of cellular numbers obtained by brokers or at factors of sale, that are generally shared with the agent or service provider when making transactions. 

Method for tackling the issue 

The GSMA Inclusive Tech Lab is collaborating with GSMA Linked Ladies and MTN Ghana to discover progressive methods through which tokenisation of cell phone numbers can be utilized to enhance safety for ladies and prospects extra broadly. Tokenisation is a expertise through which a delicate knowledge factor is substituted by a non-sensitive equal, known as a token, that has no exploitable that means or worth. Moreover, this may help to make sure that customers really feel safe when accessing cellular cash providers. 

This cellular tokenisation answer has been developed to enhance security and safety for ladies who’re utilizing their cellular cash accounts for cash-in and cash-out of cash and performing a fee at a service provider location, however it showcases simply one of many use instances the place a person’s delicate knowledge, akin to a telephone quantity, might be changed with a token – a non-sensitive, context-restricted quantity.  

The shopper can request a token at any time over SMS or USSD. Utilizing the token quantity, the client has entry to quite a lot of cellular cash providers, avoiding the disclosure of their cell phone quantity. On the opposite facet, the agent doesn’t have to do something totally different. The telephone quantity subject might be full of the token quantity and the transaction will proceed usually. If desired, the person can delete the token and request a brand new one.  

Shaping the notion  

The answer was created with a user-first mindset, aiming to maintain the interplay intuitive and with adjustments that don’t affect the processes customers are accustomed to. With the goal person group in thoughts, that is key to accommodate customers’ digital abilities and current behaviours with minimal disruption. 

On the similar time, the technological answer was designed such that it requires minimal adjustments to the operator’s present platform. That is doable as a result of the token can have the identical format as the present cellular quantity. In that method, the system interfaces in the identical solution to entry providers required by customers and brokers, requiring solely small adjustments on the server-side and making the answer extra simply applied and deployed by trade gamers. 

It’s critical that suppliers take into account girls’s mobile-related security considerations in LMICs to allow entry to primary providers and supply alternatives for the private and financial development of ladies. 

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