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New Digital IDs roll out as established program report encouraging adoption trends

New Digital IDs roll out as established program report encouraging adoption trends

Call it update Friday. Progress reports on digital ID campaigns from developed economies (including California’s) and developing (including Bhutan’s) are the order of the day.

Californians might want to check out the news from tiny Bhutan, squeezed between Bangladesh and Tibet.

There, the government says its national digital ID project is 77 percent complete, and that includes the collection of biometric information. Almost 500,000 citizens are enrolled, according to figures quoted by online news publisher Kuensel.

The campaign is part of a much larger digital update for many government agencies and functions. Ninety-seven percent of schools, hospitals and institutes have been linked on a fibre-optic government network, for example.

Bhutan’s planned integrated tax system, on the other hand, has been postponed, according to the Kuensel article.

As it happens, California is piloting a digital ID project, according to the state government. Workers are testing technology platforms within multiple agencies. The goal is to see if citizen use and system cost savings can be achieved by using digital IDs.

The state also has piloted the federal digital ID program Login.gov with three public transit agencies. More details on one of those efforts can be found on GitHub.

A report, which officials call a market-sounding survey has been published. It lists anticipated benefits, challenges and roles for public and private sectors, none of which would surprise anyone monitoring other government efforts around the world.

Elsewhere, digital ID systems continue to grow and evolve.

Adoption increasing in South Korea, Belgium and Germany

The three mobile carriers in South Korea have committed to launching this week an ID verification service that would obviate physical identification cards, according to the Yonhap News Agency.

The service is expected to be part of PASS mobile authentication app owned by SK Telecom, KT Corp. and LG Uplus. The government has its own mobile authentication app.

PASS has 36 million subscribers, according to the news report, and 4.7 million citizens have a digital driver’s license on it.

In Belgium, a new player is joining digital authentication initiative, too.

According to The Brussels Times, myID.be is active and enabling citizens to access government and private sector services more easily online.

U2U Consult wrote myID.be, available on phones and tablets. To enroll, people swipe their ID card, scan a QR code and enter a PIN.

Does any of this bode well for other nations? Maybe. Germany, which launched its electronic ID 22 years ago to yawns and mockery, is seeing more use of the digital documents.

The card still is a minor phenomenon there, but successful digital ID transactions jumped in July, August and September, according to c’t Magazin, a German computer publication. (The link goes to a German language machine translation.)

Generally, the long tail of anything online is right side of a graph, but that is not the case here.

The article reports that there were 100,000 successful transactions per month in 2020 – a decade after launch.

But starting in July, apparently, using a digital ID has gotten … more popular. About 550,000 successful transactions were recorded in a nation of 84 million.

One possible reason for the increase, according to c’t Magazin, is an increase in government services being opened to digital IDs.

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