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Governments step up digital identity for public services, digital economy participation

Governments step up digital identity for public services, digital economy participation

Digital identity apps and wallets for government services are expanding around the world, with Mastercard services going live in North Macedonia. Istanbul is attempting something similar with its super app, Denmark is refreshing its app-based system, and the UK and Singapore have reached an interoperability deal.

In New South Wales, Australia, meanwhile, the government is preparing for a public consultation process on its digital identity services delivered through the Service NSW App. A concept video outlining the state government’s vision depicts the use of face biometrics for authentication to renew a credential held within the associated digital wallet.

North Macedonia reaches launch

North Macedonia’s project to launch a digital identity service with Mastercard’s help has reached its launch, and its first client organization has been announced.

Customers of NLB Bank Skopje can remotely e-sign documents to make them legally binding through Mastercard’s ID Service, a digital identity service operated by Evrotrust, according to the announcement.

The project was originally unveiled in early-2020, and provides smartphone-based services such as digital document signing and verification to Macedonian citizens. At the time it was reported to be based on a distributed model, without a centralized database of personal information.

“With ID Service, we can identify a person remotely, share electronic documentation and have them return an electronically signed document. This superior user experience will provide customers with complete flexibility in performing banking services. We will continue to work on our digital transformation, to optimize and simplify our work with customers and personalize our services and products,” says Antonio Argir, president of the Management Board, NLB Bank Skopje.

North Macedonia Minister of Information Society and Administration Jeton Shaqiri said the launch is just the first step in implementing the digital ID service, and Mastercard will work with the ministry to expand the services’ footprint. Future plans include remote onboarding capabilities, and integration with the government’s Document Management System to further digitize the public sector.

Istanbul Super App

A similar project is being undertaken in the Turkish metropolis of Istanbul, where a super app with digital identity ambitions is being developed by Germany-based Kobil to supply secure and convenient access to all municipal services.

The Istanbul Senin app was formally launched on November 18 by the Istanbul Metropolitan Authority.

“With pride, I can announce that with ‘Istanbul Senin’ – translated as ‘Istanbul is Yours’- we are the first in the world to go live with such a great vision,” says Istanbul mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu. “With ‘Istanbul is Yours’, we are creating a completely new ecosystem and digital, secure platform where the highest user security is guaranteed, users can use their digital identity, a digital wallet, and digital contracts.”

Denmark launches new digital identity app

The NemID digital identity system used to facilitate service access and transactions in Denmark is being phased out and replaced with MitID, which supports optional fingerprint or face biometrics.

MitID is developed by the Danish Agency of Digitisation and Finance Denmark, and is intended to enhance security and increase ease of use for access to public services. MitID is app-based, though alternatives are available in the form of a MitID code viewer, code reader and chip.

UK and Singapore sign mutual digital ID recognition deal

The UK and Singapore have reached a deal to support the interoperability of digital identity services between the two jurisdictions at the Future Tech Forum, according to a government announcement. This is intended to reduce barriers to cross-border trade and enable greater participation in the international digital economy by people and businesses, the government says.

The deal is one of three Memoranda of Understanding (MoU’s), and follows on a collaborative agreement signed between the island nations in 2019.

In an exit statement as the UK’s G7 Presidency term comes to a close, the government highlights the ‘G7 Roadmap for Cooperation on Data Free Flow with Trust’ and a meeting of G7 Data Protection Authorities among important developments.

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