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Government to set up Office for Digital Identities

Digital face
Image source: Tkachenko

The UK Government is planning set up an Office for Digital Identities (ODIA) and bring forward legislation for a certification process, trustmark and a legal gateway for verification checks.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has outlined the plans with its response to the public consultation on digital identities.

It said this will be a step towards making digital identities as trusted and secure as official paper documents such as passports and driving licences.

This also marks the next step in fostering the development of an ecosystem for digital identities and attributes, following last year’s proposals for a trust framework and a governing body.

The ODIA will be set up within the DCMS to fulfil the role on an interim basis to oversee the relevant security and privacy standards.

It will have the power to issue an easily recognised trustmark to organisations that are certified to provide digital identities by proving they meet the standards to handle personal data safely and consistently.

Legislation plan

The Government intends to bring forward the necessary legislation when parliament time allows.

It will be aimed at: establishing a robust and secure accreditation and certification process along with the trustmark; creating a legal gateway for trusted organisations to carry out verification checks against data held by public bodies to validate a person’s identity; and confirm the legal validity of digital forms of identification.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Cabinet Office Heather Wheeler MP said: “The Government is delivering a number of ambitious and interlinked policy initiatives to prepare the UK for the digital world, and to improve the lives of businesses and citizens.

“These initiatives, alongside enabling legislation, will help ensure the UK is able to take full advantage of the opportunities that digital identities and the wider digital economy have to offer.”

Options, signposting, engagement

Among the other elements to the Government’s response to the consultation are that it will: consider the options for a digital identity advisory group; talk to organisations about options on charging for the relevant services; provide signposting on how to make complaints; look at design options for the trustmark; and continue to speak with a range of stakeholders on the issues.

DCMS said that in advance of the proposed legislation, landlords, letting agents and employers will be able to use certified new technology to carry out the right to work and rent property online from 6 April.


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