Why is the Government looking at Digital Identity Verification?
The Government Digital Service (GDS), part of the Cabinet Office, is developing, in collaboration with other Government departments, a digital identity verification service which will allow people to create and reuse digital identities.
Known as Gov.UK One Login, this service will make it easier for people to find and access Government services, allow users to prove their identity online, protect the privacy of users, and reduce identity fraud and theft. It will also enable public bodies to share a wider range of specified data than is currently possible. This further benefits individuals and households by improving digital inclusion, reducing the burden on individuals of providing the same information to different public authorities many times.
To successfully deliver this service, participating public authorities will need to be able to check and share several types of Government-held personal data with the identity verification service to allow users to prove who they say they are.
Can I submit my views?
Running from 4 January to 1 March 2023, the consultation set out the proposed data sharing between specified public authorities to support the delivery of identity verification services to individuals and households. It was aimed at UK public authorities and other governmental departments, arm's length bodies, non-departmental public bodies or other organisations who believed they could be affected by the draft regulators, but responses were also welcome from anyone with an interest in or views on the subject covered by this consultation. Visit: Consultation on draft Digital Government (Disclosure of Information) (Identity Verification Services) Regulations 2023
The Government is undertaking this public consultation so it can be confident that as wide a range of views as possible are considered and factored into the regulations before they are presented to Parliament for approval.
What about Parliamentary scrutiny?
The aim of the draft legislation is to improve how data is shared and used across the public sector. This is to make identity verification online easier and more reliable, and to help the government ensure more people can use digital public services. Of course this Bill will be presented in Parliament and just as any other draft legislation will be thoroughly scrutinised
The rules and requirements within the service's framework provide protections and reassurance that are vital if digital identities are to be trusted. The Government is now proceeding with its plans to test the trust framework, of which the feedback will be used to improve this framework.
Looking forward, future legislation will establish a robust accreditation and certification process, enabling organisations to prove that they follow the rules of the trust framework. Organisations that have been certified against the trust framework and agreed to be subject to governance will be given a trust mark as a visible sign of their trustworthiness.
Rebecca is awaiting the publication of the consultation (by 24 May 2023) and will continue to follow developments closely.