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Global Counsel associate explores future of digital identity solutions in Europe

Sector “moving forward” after a stop-start last year

digital identity KYC security

This year could be the one in which digital identity “finally takes off,” according to Global Counsel (GC) associate Megan Stagman.

Writing in a EU Agenda blog post Stagman mentioned how, after severely slowing down due to the COVID-19 pandemic last year, a number of digital identity schemes are in the process of being released both in the UK and the EU.

According to the GC associate, the general public has generally been looking at online identity schemes with distrust, mainly due to the vast number of public sector schemes that have failed in the past few years.

However, Stagman argued, the pandemic has moved ample chunks of our life online, making digital identity verification a necessity to mitigate risks of COVID-19 infection.

In addition, with increased online activity came a substantial increase in identity document fraud, increasing the necessity for reliable digital identity solutions further.

To tackle these issues, the European Commission recently said it is planning to present its plan for a secure European digital identity, due in April.

And in the UK, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS) has recently unveiled new guidelines for digital identity applications.

In the GC post, Stagman applauded these efforts but mentioned how parliamentarians’ skepticism about new initiatives in the identity space combined with privacy concerns and technical issues could hinder the development and deployment of the upcoming digital identity initiatives.

The GC associate concluded her report on a positive note, however. She described how digital identity solutions are witnessing stable growth in some sectors, such as financial.

She also mentioned selfie biometrics providers Yoti and Onfido as homegrown industry players who are generally trusted by policymakers after delivering digital identity solutions for almost ten years.

“If an enabling regulatory framework can be put in place to establish trust and accountability, and the government starts to lead by example,” Stagman concluded, “we may just (finally) see a rise in the deployment of digital identity technology.

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