Pilots launched for two European digital ID schemes

A pair of new digital identity schemes have been announced in Europe to allow consumers to identify themselves through their smartphones. The Dutch government is testing an app that can only be opened with fingerprint or facial biometrics, which can then be used as an ID document instead of a passport or driver’s license, NLTimes reports, while the UK’s TISA (Tax Incentivized Savings Association) has announced a pilot project to give consumers greater control over and access to their finances.

The Dutch project will be launched initially in Utrecht and Eindhoven, using a blockchain technology called Trustchain, which was developed at the Delft University of Technology (TU Delft). When the app is opened, it creates a QR code, which can be scanned by the person requesting identification.

“The advantage of the digital ID is that you can decide for yourself which data is available” TU Delft team leader Johan Pouwelse told Dutch newspaper Eindhovens Dagblad. “When you rent a boat now, you have to hand over a copy of your passport. With all the risks that entails. Digitally you can screen off data, while there is still a signature of the state. Your privacy is much larger with a digital ID, while it is at least as safe as a passport or a driver’s license.” In addition to safety and privacy, convenience is a big reason for this experiment. “The new generation only has a telephone, with which they communicate and pay. Soon you can also show who you are.”

TISA will develop several prototype digital identities for consumers along with a group of leading financial service providers, to test different verification methods. At the end of six months, it will use the standards and level of assurance established to create a secure Trust Framework to comply with anti-money laundering (AML) and other regulations.

“It’s clear that people would save and invest more if the process of opening savings and investment products and transferring money was made easier. Too many customers are left frustrated when they are unable to complete financial processes online. That’s why the Digital Identity is vital to helping people manage their money better,” says TISA Director General David Dalton-Brown. “As the Digital ID project has progressed, we have opened up the potential for a full Digital Ecosystem, allowing consumers’ data to be managed securely on their behalf. Both businesses and consumers will be able to take greater control of their information, in a trusted and easy to use way.”

As digital identity rapidly grows in prominence, the European Association for Biometrics (EAB) and the European Commission’s Joint Research Center have announced they will update stakeholders on recent developments in the field at the 5th annual EAB Research Projects Conference, while across the Atlantic the Better Identity Coalition recently addressed policy makers on Capitol Hill about a policy agenda to support digital identity solutions.

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