The UK government wants a ‘trust mark’ for digital identity businesses

The UK government is proposing new legislation to make digital identities “as reliable and secure” as official physical documents, such as passports and driving licenses. Digital identity companies welcome this measure, which would require government accreditation – or “trust mark” – to show that they can handle identity data securely.

However, some privacy experts questioned the need to legislate for digital identities at all – and warned that people who do not use digital identities could be excluded.

The government published a answer to a public consultation on digital identities last week. This proposal will create a new office for Digital Identity and Attributes to oversee security and privacy standards for digital identity in the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

The changes would allow people to use a digital identity when making age-restricted online products, such as alcohol. The government says this method means consumers will not have to disclose personal information such as their birth, name or address.

Digital IDs will not be mandatory and paper documentation would still be valid, the government said.

“This government is committed to the power of unlocking data for the benefit of people across the UK,” said Data Minister Julia Lopez.

“Our proposed legislation will ensure that there are reliable and trustworthy ways in which individuals and organizations can use digital identities, if they so choose.”

Sue Daley, director of technology and innovation at techUK, said: “We also need to ensure that we take citizens with us on this journey: public trust and confidence in Digital ID must be a top priority going forward.”

Digital identity and age verification companies have expressed their support for government legislation.

“The adoption parity of digital identity forms will be a catalyst in terms of preventing fraud and increasing the use of digital identity for UK consumers,” said Julie Dawson, director of policy and regulation at London-based digital ID. tight Yoti.

Tony Allen, CEO of digital recognition firm ACCS, said, “a legislative basis will be a major step forward in building trust, and will put digital identities on par with passports and driving licenses for anyone who needs to prove who themselves ”.

Allen said an awareness – raising campaign is needed to dispel myths about digital identity and speaking in the language of users and not technologists.

Companies providing digital identity verification services benefit financially from their growing adoption – especially if technology gains momentum from government legislation.

Many digital identity companies generate revenue per verification.

Neil Brown is an internet, technology and telecommunications lawyer previously written: “Without legislation forcing organizations to purchase services from age-verified vendors, the market for those vendors is much smaller.”

While paper documents will remain valid, data protection expert Rowenna Fielding, who goes along with ‘Miss IG Geek”s Twitter handle, argues that this may not be the case.

“There is significant potential for digital recognition to become mandatory through common practice rather than through official policy,” Fielding said. “Organizations that can save money using digital identity verification systems rather than manual processes are unlikely to maintain the manual processes, which means that fewer products and services will be available to those who do not want to use digital identity, resulting in exclusion. of those people from many walks of life. ”

Fielding also questioned the need for a new law to ensure that organizations adhere to high standards of privacy and security, given the current parameters of the Data Protection Act.

Fielding also said that the proposal requires “heavy scrutiny” with input from civil society and technology policy experts.

The UK government wants a ‘trust mark’ for digital identity businesses

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