UK government throws a bone to its troubled digital ID-assurance program

UK government throws a bone to its troubled digital ID-assurance program

The UK has put its troubled digital ID-assurance program, Verify, on life support as government officials stoke development of a parallel effort called Gov.uk. Verify had previously been absorbed by Gov.uk.

Keeping Verify viable for its members is savvy product development. It is always easier and cheaper to keep subscribers than to lure in new and lapsed ones.

The decade-old project suffered trust issues in citizens’ eyes and never attracted more than 7 million users. The goal was 25 million.

While the program was created in partnership with private-sector digital ID providers, most of those partners jumped ship as it became a political punching bag because of its underperformance.

Yet Verify users do exist.

Signups even grew when UK citizens applied for Universal Credit as the pandemic deepened, according to the trade publication Public Technology.net. Universal Credit is a cash welfare benefit. Verify played a role in that program’s enrollment process, assisted by Mitek’s selfie biometrics.

Initially, officials pledged to keep the digital ID platform up until this coming September. A couple more stays mean Verify will operate at least until April 2023 on an £11 million (US$16 million) annual budget. Government spending on Verify peaked at £40 million during fiscal 2017-2018, according to Public Technology.net

Assuming Gov.uk can outperform (or at least outlast) Verify, it will be used to consolidate the 100 ways citizens face when trying to log on to the government’s many siloed service sites.

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