Insights Government publishes policy paper on the UK digital identity and attributes trust framework

The policy paper, which is open for consultation, sets out a framework of draft rules to govern the future use of digital identities. It is part of the Government’s wider plan to make it quicker and easier for people to verify themselves using modern technology. The aim is to create a process as trusted as using passports or bank statements.

The draft framework includes the principles, policies, procedures and standards governing the use of digital identity to allow for the sharing of information to check people’s identities or personal details, such as a user’s address or age, in a trusted and consistent way. This will enable interoperability and increase public confidence, the Government says. The framework, once finalised, is expected to be brought into law. It has specific standards and requirements for organisations which provide or use digital identity services including:

  • having a data management policy which explains how they create, obtain, disclose, protect, and delete data;
  • following industry standards and best practice for information security and encryption;
  • telling the user if any changes, for example an update to their address, have been made to their digital identity;
  • where appropriate, having a detailed account recovery process and notifying users if organisations suspect someone has fraudulently accessed their account or used their digital identity; and
  • following guidance on how to choose secure authenticators for their service.

Organisations will be required to publish a yearly report explaining which demographics have been, or are likely to have been, excluded from their service and why. The move will help make firms aware if there are inclusivity problems in their products while also boosting transparency.

The Government says that the framework will also help promote the use of “vouching”, where trusted people within the community, such as doctors or teachers “vouch for” or confirm a person’s identity, as a useful alternative for those without traditional documents, such as passports and driving licences.

The policy paper is open for consultation until 12 pm on 11 March 2021. To read the Government’s press release in full and to access the policy paper, click here.