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UK Government unveils new guidelines for digital identity applications

Public invited to contribute to draft rules

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The UK Government has published a draft framework detailing new rules about digital identity applications and how people can verify their identity online, which it says will enable interoperability and increase public confidence in these new technologies.

The new ‘UK digital identity and attributes trust framework’ highlights principles, policies, procedures, and standards regulating the use of digital ID, and how the ensuing information is shared with public authorities and private firms.

“Products that help digitally to verify a person’s identity are becoming increasingly important as more areas of our work and home lives move online,” said Cabinet Office Minister Julia Lopez. “Creating a common trust framework will give greater clarity and certainty to organizations who want to work in this field about what is expected of them. More importantly, however, [the framework] will help to deepen users’ trust and confidence in digital identities and the standards we expect in the safeguarding of their personal data and privacy.”

The document, which is expected to eventually be enacted as law, lays out specific standards and requirements for organizations providing or utilizing digital identity services.

These include a data management policy detailing how data is created, obtained, disclosed, protected, and deleted, as well as the adoption of industry standards as far as information security and encryption are concerned.

A transparency policy will also allow users to know whether any changes have been made to their digital identity details, and will allow them to undergo a detailed account recovery process should they have lost access to their account.

Finally, the draft offers guidance regarding how to help individuals effectively select secure authenticators for their services.

As part of the new policy, digital ID services providers will have to publish a yearly report explaining whether certain demographics have been excluded from their service and why.

“We believe that digital identity systems should be inclusive and accessible for anyone that chooses to use them,” commented Emma Lindley, co-founder of Women In Identity.

This collaborative approach by the government in designing the trust framework is a step in the right direction towards accountability across all stakeholders who are involved, and ensures no one is left behind,” Lindley explained.

The framework will also enable the use of ‘vouching,’ a practice including the verification of individuals’ identity by confirmation of trusted people within the community.

The publishing of the new digital identity and attributes trust framework is part of the UK Government’s efforts towards digitalizing identity and removing the need for national identity cards.

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