UK government consults on digital identities

July 21, 2021

The UK government has launched a consultation on digital identities. It says that online authentication, identity and eligibility solutions can increase security, ease of use and accessibility to public services. They are central to making public services more efficient and effective. They will also improve people’s ability to operate confidently in an increasingly digital economy.

The government is committed to realising the benefits of digital identity, without creating ID cards. Earlier this year it published a draft of the UK digital identity and attributes trust framework. This set out what rules and standards are needed to protect people’s sensitive identity data when used digitally.

The consultation asks for views on how the digital identity system should operate, including proposals for a governing body which will be charged with making sure organisations follow government rules on digital identity. It does not say which regulator should be given the role, but suggests that it should be an existing regulator.

The government seeks views on three key issues:

  • the governance system to oversee digital identity and make sure organisations comply with the rules;
  • how to allow trusted organisations to make digital checks against authoritative government-held data;
  • establishing the legal validity of digital identities, so people are confident they are as good as physical documents like passports or bank statements.

The consultation ends on 13 September 2021.