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Do not waste recent gains on digital ID, techUK report urges government

Do not waste recent gains on digital ID, techUK report urges government

Progress finally made by the UK Government to establish a functional digital identity system to support the digital economy needs to be followed with further concrete action, and quickly, if the system’s potential is to be realized, according to a new report from techUK.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has made progress, notably with the UK Digital Identity & Attributes Trust Framework and the Digital Identity & Attributes Consultation Response published in March, which outlines the governance structure and needed legislation.

The new report, ‘Unlocking UK Digital Identity in 2022,’ warns that the UK risks falling behind other developed countries in digital transformation.

The report is a follow-up to 2020’s ‘Digital Identities: the missing link in a UK digital economy,’ which argued that urgent action to stand up an effective digital ID system in the country was overdue. TechUK posited that a marketplace spanning the public and private sectors could kick-start that system.

“That the UK is, upon publication of this report, still lacking a firm plan and timetable for the creation of the proposed new governing body within DCMS (OfDIA) and remaining issues regarding the wording of the UK Trust Framework that affect the ability of companies certified under the Framework to perform necessary KYC and anti-fraud checks as they do today under existing Data Protection Act 2018 and UK GDPR is cause for concern,” the organization writes in the follow-up report.

TechUK makes ten recommendations, including the establishment of a formal timetable for fully implementing the Trust Framework in the first half of 2023, passage of supporting legislation during the 2022/2023 parliamentary session, a fully open competition for the One Login for Government platform tender, and the opening of government data sources to certified identity service providers within the next year.

The government should quickly create a permanent governing body for the system with public and private sector representation, allow full interoperability between public- and private-sector digital IDs, create a unique regulator for digital ID by the end of 2023, and provide more clarity on areas where digital ID will be applied, the report states.

Finally, the public should be engaged to build trust, and a joint working group made up of DCMS and industry stakeholders should be created to accelerate the delivery of the Trust Framework.

Each recommendation is explained in some depth, and the risk of failure underlined in the report.

The report also notes innovation in biometrics which has enabled the development of digital ID solutions with greater protection from fraud.

The government’s current strategy on interoperability within the digital ID ecosystem, and the One Login for Government tender, however, “risks further damage to Citizen confidence in Digital ID moving forward,” techUK warns.

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