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Industry group recommends national policies for digital ID and biometric authentication


The UK government should establish a national policy to create a fully functioning digital identity ecosystem for use in both the public and private sectors, and set up a lawful basis for using biometrics within that system, according to a new white paper from industry group techUK.

The case for digital IDs” is a 28-page document outlining the above and seven other recommendations, and is applauded by Yoti Director of Regulation and Policy Julie Dawson in a blog post.

The group calls for a single point of contact within the government to lead the policy, information about the future of Gov.UK Verify to be made public to further standards creation, and an equal recognition of digital and physical identity verification methods.

Root government-issued documents are sometimes fraudulently obtained, and people have widely disparate amounts and qualities of identity data, according to techUK, which motivates the seventh of the white paper’s nine recommendations:

“(T)he UK should set up a new lawful basis for processing biometric data for identity verification and authentication in order to support legislation such as the Digital Economy Act and recognize that biometrics are being used to increase security and combat fraud.”

Dawson points out the benefits of sharing only relevant identity information, such as age, that are facilitated by digital identity systems. She also points out that Yoti Age Scan, which was recently deployed by teen social media app Yubo, is among the systems that can provide age assurance to individuals without other forms of ID.

“We need to remove barriers to the UK developing, deploying and adopting world-leading digital identity solutions and ensure the UK builds on its world firsts – the PAS 1296 standard for age checking and the BBFC audit framework for age proofing compliance under the Digital Economy Act,” Dawson writes. “Between 20 and 25 million adults are expected to be age verifying digitally to access adult content. Hopefully soon there will be parity and we will also be able to use our identity apps at self checkouts and on nights out. This will also lower the cost of digital identity for the public purse.”

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