Have you noticed a need for a better digital identity policy?

“We see instances where companies which want to bring world-class solutions to UK users often struggle to get support, either due to a reluctance to innovate or lack of a joined-up approach from key public sector bodies,”

To boost the digital economy, the UK tech sector has urged the government to publish policy to support the creation of a “fully functioning” digital identity market.

Currently, Gov.uk Verify (a digital ID system) developed by the Government Digital Service is a secure way to prove who you are online. You do not need to prove your identity in person to access government services, like filing tax or checking identification like driving licences. However, the future of this body is unclear and more public sector data should be available for effective identity verification.

This movement has been started by TechUK. The digital identity is aimed at collaborating with the private and public sectors.

“To ensure the UK does not fall behind other countries, we must create an interoperable framework for digital IDs which spans the public and private sectors,” said Julian David, CEO of TechUK.

As Serviceteam IT’s ‘Beyond the Cloud’ research proved, cyber-crime and cyber security concerns are on the rise. Growth in fraud, identity theft and cost are frequently cited as reasons for a greater digital identity policy.

“Tech companies small and large are keen to assist and are coming up with solutions, but they are encountering hurdles in outdated legislation, the complexity of the regulatory landscape and in achieving recognition of their solutions in the market.”

The Interaction between Policy and Legislation.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport under Jeremy Wright as the Secretary of State for the Department took responsibility for digital ID from Government Digital Service in 2018. This was post criticisms of delays in producing a commercial framework and its interaction with private sector companies.

The Department are yet to publish its recommendations for changes to legislation concerning digital identification and its wider impact on UK businesses. Like most other Departments (and at sometimes, the whole country) the focus is predominantly on Brexit.

Have you felt frustration over digital identity in your organisation? The Verify model restricts access to digital public services to a select group of identity providers. Although GDS is reported to have spent more than £130 million on Verify, the system is used on only 19 digital public services. Additionally, half of users are unable to successfully register on Verify.

I would love to know how (or if at all) this affects your organisations! Is this a significant downfall of legislation, an inconvenience or a minor afterthought? It would be hugely interesting to read your stories about this impact.

What Inadequate Legislation Leads To?

HM Revenue and Customs, NHS England and the Scottish government are developing new versions of identity systems. This is to enable more effective access and safety within their services.

Additionally, The Cabinet Office confirmed it will cease investment in Verify in 2020, and hand the system over to the private sector, which is a welcomed move. But what is the full extent of these plans?

What has been the most striking to me has been the lack of reports or concrete implementation.

What should be happening?

The idea of a Document Checking Service as a tool allows more identity providers access to passport and driving licence data, for ID verification. Furthermore, this would allow for organisations (like yours?) to provide more effective identity systems.

Verify could additionally be used for identity assurance and a better digital footprint. Finally, age verification as a tool could be more effectively used when accessing sites online.

Please comment your thoughts below! As a Law student, I am always interested in real effect legislation has on organisations in the UK. Any stories or experiences would be welcomed.

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