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OIX advocates private sector digital wallets with government credentials


Mark Say Managing Editor

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Governments should allow approved private sector digital wallets to hold official credentials rather than issue their own, according to the Open Identity Exchange (OIX).

It has published a white paper on the issue saying that the move would require the creation of trust frameworks to enable the approval of the wallets.

The report comes in response to the increasing use of digital wallets around the world, and involves a consideration of four models for governments’ use of the technology. One is in which they provide the only wallet that can hold their credentials; another where they provide one for their own and private sector credentials, and a third of providing their own while allowing the private sector to provide alternatives.

But it opts for the fourth, in which they do not issue wallets but allow approved private sector providers to include government credentials in their versions.

Reducing costs and fears

It says the advantage of this include that it would reduce the cost to governments, reducing any public fears about their monitoring the use of the wallets, and enable people to use a single wallet for public and private sector transactions. Also, they would be able to provide a mixture of credentials, such as a government approved ID and private sector payment mechanism, from the same wallet.

In turn, this would support the development of a market and encourage innovation in digital identity services.

It says the UK Government’s work on the digital identity trust framework could facilitate this, and points to examples of relevant initiatives in Canada and the EU.

Nick Mothershaw, chief identity strategist at OIX, said: “Private sector wallets that are subject to a government trust framework are the best approach for all parties - governments, their citizens and the organisations that will come to rely on digital ID.”

OIX is a global membership organisation that works on the issues around digital identities.

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