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Digital identity for online govt services expanding with launches and new plans on four continents

Delaware launches Idemia mobile driver's licenses, Bluink's eID-Me now available across Canada

digital identity biometric registration

Digital identity has been making significant strides in various jurisdictions around the world, with governments and businesses taking steps to extend government ID and services to the digital realm.

A World Economic Forum editorial by Deloitte Managing Director for Cyber Risk Colin Soutar points out the work that went into establishing trust between countries for international travel, including the international agreement on what a “neutral expression” is to support face biometric checks. Establishing a similar level of trust for cross-system digital identity use cases may be even more difficult, but Deloitte offers four governing principles governments can refer to foster trusted digital IDs.

Deloitte recommends that digital identities be user-controlled, flexible and adaptive, with bi-directional trust with citizen authorization of service use, and shared signals within a broad ecosystem to protect against threats.

Canadian province plans public digital ID launch for late-2021, Bluink available countrywide

The Canadian province of Ontario has completed a public consultation and will introduce optional digital IDs to the public in late 2021.

Digital IDs will be available for both individuals and businesses, with the individual versions valid for check-ins to virtual medical appointments, applications for birth, marriage, or death certificates, government benefits claims, as well as vaccination records and bank account opening. Businesses can use it to verify customer identities, as well as in hiring and financial and tax interactions.

Meanwhile, Bluink’s eID-Me has reached official availability in all 13 of Canada’s provinces and territories. The development of Bluink was supported by a $1.2 million loan from Ontario’s Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, and digitizes government IDs with a biometric selfie and liveness check.

“eID-Me is a prime example of how government innovation funding can spur cutting-edge technology that will benefit citizens for years to come. While the initial funding kick-started the project, we have continued to invest millions to get eID-Me to where it is today,” says Steve Borza, Bluink CEO.

Bluink has partnered with businesses including Diamond and Diamond Lawyers to implement eID-Me for online services, but it is not yet accepted as legal ID.

Borza says the company will announce partnerships with national organizations “in the next few months.”

Registration requires both a passport and a driver’s license or government photo ID card, but Bluink plans to remove the passport requirement in the future.

Delaware launching mDL, New Orleans plans multi-use card

Delaware’s DMV has begun offering mobile driver’s licenses (mDLs) with biometric technology from Idemia to the public for identity and age verification, The Coastal Point reports.

License holders can digitize their physical ID by going through a process including biometric selfie liveness checks, and the app is then secured with fingerprint or face biometrics for unlocking.

The optional Delaware Mobile ID has been through extensive piloting, and can be used to share limited personal information as required by the use case.

“Delaware’s release of Mobile ID technology is a significant step in bringing citizens a secure identification option at their fingertips,” said Matt Thompson, senior vice president, Civil and Mobile ID of IDEMIA, the company behind Delaware’s Mobile ID technology. “We are pleased to continue our long-standing partnership with Delaware to unveil this innovative technology as the state pioneers this new industry.”

New Orleans is prioritizing a digital ID program as part of its smart city initiative, hoping to connect vulnerable citizens with benefits programs, Cities Today reports.

The city’s CIO is pushing for the smart city program to be maintained in the face of budget pressures, including a digital identity project which is about to launch in partnership with Mastercard City Possible and the City of Los Angeles. The initiative will put access to benefits, payments, and city services including transportation, libraries and resource centers, on a single card.

Eftpos plans accreditation to Australia’s trusted digital identity framework

Eftpos has announced plans to have its connectID digital identity brokering service accredited under Australia’s trusted digital identity framework (TDIF) by the Digital Transformation Authority (DTA), channelnews writes.

The government’s Services Australia is the only organization currently accredited for the federated identity system.

Eftpos has piloted connectID with Australia Post’s Digital iD and the Queensland Government since mid-2020.

Jamaican proposal raises concerns

Questions are being raised about Jamaica’s proposed digital ID bill by Access Now and a dozen local and international groups, and the impact the proposal could have on

Recommendations from the groups, led by Jamaicans for Justice and Slashroots, include minimization of data collection, with Access Now suggesting the use of biometrics in digital identity systems pose a danger to human rights. The bill proposes collecting 20 types of data, including fingerprints and face biometrics. Ruther recommendations include rules on disclosures of information and identity verification, and the establishment of an independent authority free from political influence to oversee the system.

“The current identification options available in Jamaica are divisive, and exclude some citizens, particularly members of vulnerable groups,” says Verónica Arroyo, policy associate at Access Now. “So while the idea of introducing a new digital ID bill seems laudable, there is real risk that a new system could create more problems than it solves. To be successful, the process now underway must ensure the system is people-centered, human rights-respecting, and compliant with the recently passed Data Protection Act.”

Access Now points out that a previous attempt to establish a digital ID system was struck down as unconstitutional by Jamaica’s Supreme Court.

Turks & Caicos to establish digital identity platform

The new government of the Turks and Caicos says it will establish a digital identity platform and mandatory digital ID card to provide secure access to government services, The Turks & Caicos Sun reports.

The plan is part of a broader government digitization and modernization agenda, and is intended to be used for fee payments, license applications and school registrations, among other services.

“Over time, all Government services will be accessible via e-identity and from your mobile device. In the months to come, the Government will hire a consultant to advise on the appropriate system that will streamline Information and Communications Technology (ICT) activities and processes across government ministries, departments, and agencies,” said Acting Governor Anya Williams of the Progressive National Party during the new government’s Throne Speech.

Scotland updates digitization plans

The Scottish government has updated its digitization strategy with a new digital identity service for interactions with the public sector, according to UKAuthority.

The national digital strategy was composed by the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) in consultation with the public and private sectors and civil society. It also includes the establishment of a digital services hub.

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