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Trade body calls for public-private sector collab on digital ID

TechUK has published a report outlining 10 key recommendations it believes are urgently needed to enable the rapid creation of an effectively regulated digital identity marketplace

Industry trade association TechUK has published a report calling on the government and industry to work closely together on digital identity, setting out 10 steps it believes are urgently needed to deliver an appropriately regulated digital identity marketplaces and strengthen confidence that the UK’s digital ID ecosystem can deliver for everyone.

The report, Unlocking UK digital identity in 2022, is the third publication TechUK has issued on this subject – following a 2019 whitepaper and a report on the utility of digital ID to the post-Covid recovery.

TechUK said its latest contribution comes at a critical moment in the development of the digital ID ecosystem, as the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) continues its work on the UK Digital Identity and Attributes Trust Framework. However, with this work now in its third year, TechUK argued that the industry was missing the clarity that only proper regulation can bring.

“Since the publication of TechUK’s last whitepaper on digital ID in 2020, we have witnessed the development of the digital ID ecosystem in the private sector with world-class solutions being delivered to UK business and citizens during the upheavals of the global pandemic,” said Iain McCallum, TechUK programme manager for digital ID.

“However, there are still significant barriers to overcome with the development of the UK Digital Identity and Attributes Trust Framework, and many in the industry feel that closer cooperation and engagement is required to both optimise and accelerate the Framework development process.”

TechUK said digital ID could bring benefits to both the economy and society, and on this basis the creation of a thriving digital economy was predicated on the existence of a secure, flexible and interoperable digital ID ecosystem. It believes the current regulatory gap could be addressed by closer cooperation to accelerate the process, and that – if this happens – full regulation could be delivered in 2023.

The report sets out 10 recommendations to support a workable digital ID market in the UK:

  1. That DCMS create a formalised timetable to enable the full implementation of the Trust Framework by the end of June 2023;
  2. That the legislative changes needed to support this be timetabled during the 2023/3 parliamentary session;
  3. That the GDS One Login for Government platform build be fully opened to competition and tender;
  4. That certified internet service providers (ISPs) be given access to government department-owned data attributes under the proposed legal gateway by the end of June 2023;
  5. That a permanent public-private governing body, to own, define, promote and certify against the Trust Framework be created, again by the end of June next year;
  6. That the government allows full interoperability between public and private sector digital IDs;
  7. That a plan and timetable to create a unique, independent regulator to oversee this ecosystem be completed by the end of 2023;
  8. That ISPs are given more clarity on parts of the UK Data Protection Act that may impact the use of digital IDs;
  9. That the government priorities engaging with the public to build trust and confidence in digital ID;
  10. And finally, that DCMS and industry stakeholders create a formal joint working group to collaborate and accelerate delivery of the Trust Framework.

TechUK welcomed the work DCMS has already been carrying out, but said that if these recommendations are not addressed, the government risks diminishing the Trust Framework’s credibility and missing out on the economic opportunities of digital IDs.

Joseph Spear, chair of the TechUK Digital ID Programme’s Working Group, mVine, said: “Digital ID will bring many benefits to the UK’s economy and society, but actionable regulation is first of all needed to reach its full potential.

“TechUK’s whitepaper builds on the previous two and is equally as timely and informative as industry and government navigate the use cases of digital ID. The TechUK digital identity working group is keen to see the development of a collaborative digital ID ecosystem where the public, private or third sector can reap the benefits.”

Read more about digital ID

  • Government document includes the launch of the Office for Digital Identities and Attributes, and a pledge that ID cards will not be introduced.
  • The UK government’s proposed digital ID trust framework is a step in the right direction, but more is needed to ensure the successful adoption of digital identity across the economy.

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