" class="no-js "lang="en-US"> Fintech Experts Discuss Changes to the UK Digital ID
Thursday, June 13, 2024

Fintech Experts Discuss The Idea of A UK Digital ID

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Lord Hague have called for the UK Government to roll out a “digital ID” which would encompass details such as a passport, driving license, tax details and more. As reported in The Times, the one time despatch box rivals have published a report outlining several areas where innovation and digitalisation in the UK can be promoted, such as digital technology and renewable energy.

The report goes on to say that the UK should adopt a more strategic and collaborative approach to innovation, and should work to create an ecosystem that supports innovation across a range of sectors. This could include the creation of innovation hubs and clusters that bring together businesses, universities, and research institutions, as well as policies that encourage innovation, such as tax incentives for research and development.

Overall, the report argues that innovation must be at the heart of the UK’s national purpose if it is to succeed in the face of global challenges and ensure a prosperous future for its citizens. But what does the fintech industry think of the plans?

Colum Lyons, CEO of ID-Pal, said: “While it’s encouraging to see support for digital IDs in Britain as part of a long-term tech revolution, there are immediate issues that need to be addressed in the short term, especially relating to Right to Work and Right to Rent checks.

“Given the uncertainty in the labour and property market, it’s more important than ever to tackle the confusion that exists in this space for example around when a business has an adequate provision of a statutory excuse or how out-of-date passports are valid for in-person checks but not for digital checks.

“It’s the time to make meaningful change and not limit the ability of digital solutions. The change should be omnichannel, inclusive and fully embrace the capability of biometrics and technology to enable a true reshaping of the state around technology. “

Quote from Andrew Bud CBE, CEO and Founder at iProov: “Possession of a digital identity will hugely improve the lives of citizens in every society, but a successful scheme must deliver widespread acceptance as well as respect for privacy, trusted security, ease of use for citizens and be inclusive, such that marginalised groups and the most vulnerable in society can confidently participate.

The UK has already seen some successful public solutions, like NHS Login and GDS OneLogin, but to date they’ve been fragmented and citizens have yet to reap the full benefits of a digital ID scheme.

What’s clear is that we need a harmonised and universally accessible system, based on global open standards. Many other countries have shown the benefits that such universal systems can bring – from Australia to Estonia, Scandinavia to Singapore.

For a digital ID scheme to truly be a success, it needs two things: Government’s strategic leadership, and adoption of robust global open standards. Only with these two elements will a resulting scheme remain available, highly secure, privacy-enhancing and accessible to all.”

Eve Maler, CTO at ForgeRock: “People in the UK already have a Government Gateway ID to submit tax returns and get their driving licences and passports, and another digital account for benefits. But, as a nation, the UK just does not trust ID cards. That might stem from scepticism of political leaders to use this power responsibly, as well as a general distrust around how data will be used and whether people will be tracked. Let’s not forget the number of times government officials have misplaced citizen data on public transport.

But it’s important we don’t let this reluctance about digital identities hold the UK back. Many countries around the world are already beginning to embrace digital wallets – the amalgamation of IDs, payment cards and train tickets. The United States and Australia are examples where they are moving deliberately towards digital drivers licences. But for this to be embraced here, we need incremental change backed by transparency and safeguards. The UK must incorporate a standards-based approach that ensures individuals remain in control of their data, by enabling them to only share specific bits of information to a service provider, such as verifying your age or your NHS number.

People want to access the digital world simply and safely without needing to log in constantly, just like we do with Apple Pay or Google Wallet. When you go to purchase a restricted item such as alcohol at a self-service checkout, there is friction in the form of a manual verification check. The future is to have your credentials, like your date of birth, stored alongside your payment method to act as a form of validation, which would improve the buying experience and keep it secure. This approach could be extended to opening a bank account, taking out a mobile phone contract or booking a GP appointment. For consumers, it is important to know that your credentials in each of these cases wouldn’t be controlled by the service or authority, and ultimately you would always need to provide consent – and you may be able to avoid sharing your actual birthday and just share a trusted statement that you are “old enough”.

Comment from Chris Briggs, SVP of Identity at Mitek :”UK digital identity is a complex concept with many barriers to overcome, yet presents boundless opportunities to the British public. However, continual delays in trust frameworks and legislation have left the UK lagging behind other nations in this space. At the same time, British citizens are suffering from an identity paradox, concerned with how their personal data is used by third parties and government bodies, yet still use big tech platforms and social media that they know could harvest and use their data.

We need rapid investment in building trust, comfort, and security in using digital identity. Enacting legislation that will drive identity-linked functionality and deliver everyday utility for the general public, such as signing documents, proving eligibility and seamless travel, will be the catalyst for change. This will push public and private enterprises to put the right infrastructure in place to support a seamless roll-out. We also need to build public trust and buy-in through taking charge of our own identities and using them to achieve beneficial or convenient outcomes. And once we start using digital ID as a currency, we can truly bridge the physical and digital worlds to provide effective and efficient access to benefits and services.”

Responding to Tony Blair and William Hague’s report, Eduardo Castro, Managing Director, Identity and Fraud, Experian UK&I, comments:

“The primary function of technology is to make our lives easier and more convenient: digital identification is the next logical step.

“Consumers and organisations want to reduce the friction in digital journeys – as shown by the rise of ‘single sign-on’ services – giving a much more enjoyable user experience and access to range of services via one log-in. Such innovations have an added security benefit too, by reducing the need to move and pool data, which is often at the heart of privacy concerns.

“Secure identity information will become increasingly in demand and important in the years ahead with, to take one example, Right to Rent and Right to Work checks. Experian is already working with the Government and private sector, providing identity and verification services for Digital ID programmes.”

Russ Cohn, GM EMEA at OCR Labs Global, comments: “Digital identity is the keystone to other technology-enabled ambitions, all of which are underpinned by society’s larger tectonic shift towards the adoption of AI in general.

There is an opportunity for the UK to lead the way here, to become an AI superpower when it comes to digital ID science. The UK has a diverse population, and all need to be able to apply for and reuse their digital IDs in a safe and secure manner.

While other countries have adopted pan-digital ID schemes, none have solved the algorithmic bias problem. The only way for digital IDs to function for everyone is to have zero bias in the AI that is making decisions.

Those companies supplying the government’s digital ID plan should have the highest in externally tested performance stats and have best-in-class accreditations to ensure that people and their data are treated fairly.”

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