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Scotland plans public engagement on digital identity system development

Scotland plans public engagement on digital identity system development

The Scottish government has introduced a new digital identity public engagement project.

Joseph Walton, stakeholder and communications manager, made the announcement in a blog post on Tuesday, saying individuals should actively take part in the definition, design and delivery of the nation’s digital identity service.

The United Kingdom and its nations do not have an ID card or digital identity. The central government is developing ways for people to identify themselves digitally and online through various identity service providers.

“Through many rounds of user research, listening to stakeholders, experts and the public, we have built on the themes first raised within our discovery research to develop the service,” Walton writes.

“Now, as we look to start rolling out and scaling the service in 2023, we are working with independent research and insight company BritainThinks to hear specifically from people who may use the service.”

In particular, the communication expert called for public engagement in five key areas connected to the development of the digital ID infrastructure: trust, choice, control, ease of use and security.

“A deliberative research methodology is taking participants on a journey through these themes, providing information that allows them to come to an informed viewpoint on the issues at hand,” Walton explains.

“The participants are exploring how the digital identity service could help them apply for public services. They will be hearing from experts in security, inclusion and privacy. And they will be giving their views on the decisions we need to make about the program.”

Walton adds that roughly 54 people aged 16 and above are participating in the public engagement research, including “people who may face barriers to the use of digital identity and digital services.”

The Scottish government plans to publish a final independent report with all the insight in the spring, as well as share insight from the engagement journey over the next few months.

A webinar about Scotland’s upcoming digital identity project will be held on 16 November. Participation is free, registration is required.

The engagement project comes amidst a push toward new technologies in Scotland, particularly biometrics. In fact, the country is looking at finalizing its first-ever biometrics code. The Scottish Biometrics Commissioner also recently said Parliament should have confidence in how biometric data and technologies are currently used for policing and criminal justice purposes.

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