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UK digital identity conveyancing guidelines call for biometrics use, Thirdfort and Yoti confirm compliance

digital identity KYC security

Her Majesty’s Land Registry (HMLR) published its first digital identity standard, practice guide 81 (PG81) earlier this month, which recommends the use of biometrics to provide certainty.

The framework is intended to set guidelines to verify individuals’ digital identity when they express interest in a real estate transaction. While PG81 is not a mandatory standard, it can potentially provide conveyancers (attorneys specializing in the transfer of immovable property), with Safe Harbour.

In other words, if conveyancers prove they have used biometrics and followed the new guidelines in verifying their clients, the HM Land Registry will not seek legal action against them even if the clients are found guilty of identity fraud.

Both Thirdfort and Yoti have recently confirmed their digital identity verification platforms meet the new standards.

Practice guide 81: an overview

In the introductory section of the PG81, HMLR clarified the establishment of the new digital identity guidelines comes from the “widespread demand across the conveyancing market for more resilient, straightforward and convenient identity verification solutions.”

These solutions should use biometric and cryptographic technology, according to the document, in order to “give clarity and certainty to the conveyancer that they have discharged their duty on identity verification in connection with land registration applications.”

The guide then proceeds to define the “digital identity standard” in accordance with the UK government’s Good Practice Guide GPG45.

There are four requirements for the new standards, referring respectively to obtaining evidence about the represented person, checking the evidence is genuine, matching the evidence to the identity via biometrics, and obtaining information to ensure the transferor, borrower or lessor is the same person or entity as the owner.

Thirdfort and Yoti meet PG81 standards

Both digital identity service providers have recently published blog posts regarding PG81 and how the companies meet its standards.

Thirdfort has published two separate posts, the first one describing the new standards, and the second one explaining how the biometric firm’s platform meets their requirements.

According to the latter, Thirdfort’s technology accurately obtains evidence from the client by scanning their Machine Readable Passport (MRP) chip via Near Field Communication (NFC) technology.

It then checks if the evidence is genuine by checking the extracted biometric data against a government database, as well as via a liveness detection test powered by iProov’s technology.

Finally, the Thirdfort’s platform allows for document upload to ensure the transferor, borrower or lessor is the same person as the owner.

Yoti’s blog post follows a similar structure, confirming the company’s identity verification solutions for conveyancers meet the obligations under practice guide 81.

The article also describes how Yoti’s platform follows standards related to HM Land Registry-compliant e-signatures and e-witnessing for the execution of deeds, as well as Practice Guide 8 (PG8).

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