The government has published its draft rules of the road for governing the future use of digital identities. It is part of plans to make it quicker and easier for people to verify themselves using modern technology and create a process as trusted as using passports or bank statements.
Digital identity products allow people to prove who they are, where they live or how old they are. They are set to revolutionise transactions such as buying a house, when people are often required to prove their identity multiple times to a bank, conveyancer or estate agent, and buying age-restricted goods online or in person.
The new ‘trust framework’ lays out the draft rules of the road organisations should follow. It includes the principles, policies, procedures and standards governing the use of digital identity to allow for the sharing of information to check people’s identities or personal details, such as a user’s address or age, in a trusted and consistent way. This will enable interoperability and increase public confidence.
The framework, once finalised, is expected to be brought into law. It has specific standards and requirements for organisations which provide or use digital identity services including:
Organisations will be required to publish a yearly report explaining which demographics have been, or are likely to have been, excluded from their service and why. The move will help make firms aware if there are inclusivity problems in their products while also boosting transparency.
The framework will also help promote the use of ‘vouching’, where trusted people within the community such as doctors or teachers ‘vouch for’ or confirm a person’s identity, as a useful alternative for those without traditional documents, such as passports and driving licences.
The ‘trust framework’ forms part of the government’s commitment to taking a leading role in developing the digital identity market without the need for national identity cards. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) will work with the digital identity community to develop the framework and aims to publish the next iteration in the summer. DCMS continues its work on proposals on laws that will underpin the digital identity market and will consult on these later this year.