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Canadian province delays digital ID rollout as governments unveil plans

Biometrics and digital ID

The government of the Canadian province of Ontario is not launching its digital ID program this year after all, claiming that the program has been delayed by the launch of its digital health pass verification app, CTV News reports.

The Associate Ministry of Digital Government had to redirect resources away from the planned digital ID program to develop the Verify Ontario app, and it will now be launched at an unspecified date in 2022. A spokesperson suggested that the additional time was necessary to ensure the system has robust privacy and security protections.

In other jurisdictions around the world, things are moving forward.

Kuwait, UAE, Slovenia, Singapore, France updates

Kuwait’s Mobile ID application has been updated by the Public Authority for Civil Information to include an integrated digital wallet for storing digital versions of ID documents like driver’s licenses and birth certificates, along with other documents, according to the Kuwait Times.

Registration is completed with a biometric liveness check, and the digital wallet can then integrate documents from various government agencies, providing a QR code to verify documents’ validity.

The new features also include a password reset mechanism that also uses biometric liveness detection, as well as information on third doses of COVID-19 vaccines.

The Emirates Identity Authority has begun issuing the latest generation of its ID cards, with expanded memory capacity to serve more applications, writes Gulf News.

The digital ID cards are intended for use with both the public and private sector, and the update includes public key cryptography infrastructure for identity verification. The UAE has contracted an unidentified global technology provider to coordinate implementations with federal and local organizations, according to the report.

Slovenia will roll out its new digital ID cards with embedded biometric data for compliance to EU standards in March, after a production agreement was signed by the government and Slovenian commercial printer Cetis, local outlet STA reports.

The cards will cost Slovenians €29 (US$33) each.

All government agencies in Singapore have begun accepting digital identity cards presented through the SingPass mobile app for in-person services, The Straits Times writes.

There are exceptions for a handful of processes legally requiring physical documents, such as marriage registration, but the Smart Nation and Digital Government Office (SNDGO) and Government Technology Agency (GovTech) say they are working on amendments to the law to enable digital ID use.

Privacy and security features of the digital ID include protection of the individual’s ID number unless the user performs authentication with a passcode or fingerprint or face biometrics.

The government is also reportedly in talks with private businesses such as telecom operators to use the digital ID credentials.

The Straits Times goes into great detail covering the services which can now be completed more easily through SingPass.

New ID cards being issued in France include English-language translations, reports The Connexion, raising the ire of at least one member of the Académie française.

The article quotes a member of the academy and a French Senator as objecting that the inclusion of English to facilitate movement around the EU is inappropriate, as they argue it should include more foreign languages and no foreign languages, respectively.

There are also 47 local communities in France with names longer than the 30 characters the new digital ID card has room for.

Synaptic Identity enters US market

On the private sector side, Synaptic Identity has formed a partnership with Trinsic Technologies to bring its decentralized digital identity platform selfDID to the U.S. market in support of self-sovereign identity (SSI).

The selfDID platform utilizes blockchain and SSI technologies for secure storage and sharing of identity and other credentials. Synaptic Identity provides the technology and the ecosystem in which is it used, with a digital wallet connecting the two.

“Decentralized digital identity and digital credentials will soon become a standard for a multitude of interactions,” predicts Radu Chirilă, founder of the selfDID platform and CEO of Synaptic Identity. “The technology we have developed facilitates access to an interoperable European ecosystem. The partnership with Trinsic Technologies offers the possibility to address the most complex digitization needs of organizations anywhere in the world. We have a cross-border technology, and we are delighted to be able to expand our reach with an American leader in the field.”

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