Six new principles have been developed to boost secure use of digital identity and strengthen digital identity policy in the UK.


Mark Warman, Digital Infrastructure Minister has said:


“We want to make it easier for people to prove their identity securely online, so transactions can become even quicker – it has the potential to add billions to our economy.”


What are the six new principles?


According to the Government guidance, available here, the new principles are as followed:


The six principles are:


1) Privacy – When personal data is accessed people will have confidence that there are measures in place to ensure their confidentiality and privacy; for instance, a supermarket checking a shopper’s age, a lawyer overseeing the sale of a house or someone applying to take out a loan.


2) Transparency – When an individual’s identity data is accessed when using digital identity products they must be able to understand by who, why and when; for example, being able to see how your bank uses your data through digital identity solutions.


3) Inclusivity – People who want or need a digital identity should be able to obtain one; for example, not having documentation such as a passport or driving licence should not be a barrier to not having a digital identity.


4) Interoperability – Setting technical and operating standards for use across the UK’s economy to enable international and domestic interoperability.


5) Proportionality – User needs and other considerations such as privacy and security will be balanced so digital identity can be used with confidence across the economy.


6) Good governance – Digital identity standards will be linked to government policy and law. Any future regulation will be clear, coherent and align with the government’s wider strategic approach to digital regulation. For example, firms verifying your identity will need to comply with laws around how they access and store data.


Why is this happening?


We are living in a digital age, and digitisation is only going to become more widespread as time goes on. More and more, people are having to prove who they are when attempting to use services, whether it is purchasing an age-restricted item or booking a hotel – we have all experienced it. Now, the government plans to update existing laws on identity checking to enable digital identity to be used as widely as possible, and the six steps listed above will be a formulate part of that.


Also, people have their identity stolen frequently, especially when it comes to the digital realm, in fact digital fraud has risen by 32% over the last 5 years. As part of this plan, the government will develop legislation for protection relating to digital identity, add much needed clarity on rights for individuals, and offer support is something were to go wrong. There will also be consultations on the privacy and technical standards for administering and processing secure digital identities.


It could also be said that a final push towards this decision was the fact that 2.6 million people have made a claim for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme online since its launch on 13 May 2020, and 1.4 million of those applicants had no prior digital identity credentials and needing to pass through HMRC’s identity verification service. Moving into the future, the government are keen for everyone in the UK to have an easily accessible digital identity to streamline these types of processes.


What do we think?


As we have said before, we are not afraid of stepping into the digital age – in fact we welcome it. The main thing is that people’s data is used fairly and transparently. We have no issue with digital identity as long as it is used with the persons consent. If it helps speed up government processes, we are all for it.


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