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Government eyes commercial role for Verify



A market evaluation of the identity assurance platform has shown interest from the private sector

The Government has been investigating the idea of its online identity assurance platform developed for the public sector being opened up for use in the commercial world.

It could be of particular interest to the financial services, though potentially any private sector body could start using the standard in question – GOV.UK Verify.

That’s according to not just the trade body that has pointed to the potential for such an opening up, the Open Identity Exchange UK (OIX UK) (), but now, it seems, the team behind GOV.UK Verify itself.

“We have started to explore how the private sector might benefit from digital identity,” is how one of that group, David Rennie, put it in a blogpost published earlier this week.

Rennie, who leads on industry engagement for Verify, confirms that the team and OIX UK carried out a market evaluation last year that set out to see which elements of the standard might be of value outside central government.

Replace face-to-face

That study showed there was interest in the financial sector in how digital identity assurance could be used to replace “expensive and inconvenient face-to-face processes” that are currently in use, he says.

Things seem to have moved forward in the interim, as he reveals that: “We’ve kicked off some more work through OIX UK with financial institutions to explore how they could allow people to re-use their identity account for financial services… This research will help us understand the potential use cases for digital identity in the financial sector.”

This research will be carried on over the summer, with results planned for autumn publication.

The confirmation of support for sharing Verify outside the public sphere comes on the heels of more research on the topic from OIX UK itself.

Industry research

In a white paper on its site published last month – UK Private Sector Needs For Identity Assurance - the non-profit details the results of a second phase of market research on industry feeling about the idea post the 2015 work.

“The main conclusion is that there is significant appetite to pursue a cross-industry collaboration to identity assurance needs, with 81% of organisations that responded to this question wanting to move forward with a cross-industry approach,” it says.

While the research found some potential challenges, such as different requirements and consensus on needs and standards, cross-sector trust, liability and privacy, it identified that respondents felt: “There were many perceived benefits of collaboration, such as improved customer experience, time and cost savings, and portability.

Image from GOV.UK, Open Government Licence v3.0

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