Scotland plans improvements to digital identity service based on pilot
The early returns on Scotland’s digital identity service are in, and the government is planning improvements based on the results. ‘ScotAccount’ has been running as a pilot since the end of February 2023.
The service, provided by the government agency Disclosure Scotland, provides users with one set of login details that can be used to access multiple government services.
The act provides a new legislative framework governing the “disclosure system” in Scotland, outlining the policies around safeguarding children and vulnerable adults, and people with prior convictions looking for employment in certain roles where they may need to work with these groups.
When a person’s application for the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme has been processed, they will then receive an email from Disclosure Scotland allowing them to view their results online.
Users will then be able to create a secure “ScotAccount,” using an email address, password, and two-factor authentication.
These applicants can then prove their identity, using an official document such as a passport, driving license, or biometric residence card, which is then compared to data held on file by the service for veracity.
Next steps for the project include adding more methods of two-factor authentication, and the service has already been updated to accept variations in how people enter their names.
The news of the pilot comes after Scotland’s First Minister, Humza Yousaf, gave digital identity a nod in April as part of the country’s latest policy prospectus which outlines the goals his government aims to achieve by 2026.
These goals include greater efficiency “through rolling out modern digital services that are easy to access, reliable, and effective.”
The Minister said the introduction of these services will “remove the need for manual processing, reduce failure demand and meet people’s expectations of how they want to interact with government, securely and in a manner which protects their privacy.”
Scotland’s commitment to digital identity comes as Gov.UK One Login, a comparable project in England and Wales appears to be picking up some momentum.
According to Natalie Jones, director of digital ID for government service, the initiative has already been adopted by eight government services, with some government sources claiming the project could reach 100 services “in a year or two.”
Jones says One Login has created 1.5 million verified IDs to date and reinforced the infrastructure to get more people enrolled, and that the ID-check-apps have been downloaded 2 million times.
Public sector digitization market booming
Government adoption of digital identity for these types of use cases could well make for big business. A new report from Juniper Research predicts that civic identity apps will generate over $17 billion in revenue by 2027.
This represents a 62 per cent increase from the $11 billion these apps generated in 2023.
The analyst claims this growth will be spearheaded by governments looking to improve and refine their identity systems, issuing their citizens digital copies of conventional IDs and specially designed digital IDs.
Juniper predicts that India, China, and Brazil will become the top three countries in terms of producing civic identity app revenue in 2027, and that EU’s incoming eIDAS regulation will encourage investment in identity projects throughout the EU.
As per the regulation, every EU member state must make a Digital Identity Wallet available to every citizen who wants one by 2024.