Digital identity plans to promote ‘vouching’ by professionals

Government will set legal requirements for digital identity providers rather than consider national identity cards

The government’s draft rules for digital identities include promotion of ‘vouching’, where professionals such as doctors and teachers can confirm someone’s identity as a way to help those who do not hold documents such as passports or driving licences.

Vouching involves someone without documents asking a trusted professional to confirm the individual’s identity, which could then be used by a digital provider to allow the person to apply for a job or a financial service.

“There are times in day-to-day life when you may be asked to prove something about yourself to access a service or product,” writes minister for digital infrastructure Matt Warman in the foreword. “This might be easy if you have a passport or driving licence and you are able to offer these face to face. At other times it can be difficult.”

“This government is committed to solving these problems digitally and without the need for a national identity card,” he adds.

The government will set legal rules for digital identity providers in areas including data management policies, use of encryption and information security, informing users on changes, account recovery processes and secure authenticators for services.

Providers will also have to publish annual reports on which demographic groups have or are likely to be excluded from their services and why, to promote inclusivity and transparency. This aims to tackle problems such as facial recognition systems that do not work well with some ethnic groups.

The publication of the draft UK Digital Identity and Attributes Trust Framework by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport follows a call for evidence and series of roundtables last year. It is calling for feedback by 11 March.

PublicTechnology staff

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