UK reveals proposals for national digital identity verification framework

The UK government has laid out proposals for establishing a framework for the use of trusted and secure digital verification services that will allow consumers to create certified digital identities for use across a range of use cases.

Department for Science, Innovation and Technology UK logo

The proposals include:

  • The preparation and publication of rules concerning the provision of digital verification services (DVS).
  • The establishment of a register of accredited DVS providers.
  • The publication of a code of practice for the disclosure of information.
  • The potential introduction of a trust mark to designate accredited digital identity services.

The proposals form part of the updated draft of the government’s Data Protection and Digital Information Bill that it is introducing to parliament this week.

The Bill also includes proposals for new data protection legislation to create a “strengthened data regime” via “a simple, clear business-friendly framework that will not be difficult or costly to implement — taking the best elements of [the EU’s] General Data Protection Regulation and providing businesses with more flexibility about how they comply with the new data laws” as well as recommendations concerning the use of “innovative technologies such as AI and quantum computing”.

“The Data Protection and Digital Information Bill was first introduced last summer and paused in September 2022 so ministers could engage in a co-design process with business leaders and data experts — ensuring that the new regime built on the UK’s high standards for data protection and privacy, and seeks to ensure data adequacy while moving away from the ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach of European Union’s GDPR,” the UK’s Department for Science, Innovation and Technology says.

“The Bill will also establish a framework for the use of trusted and secure digital verification services, which allow people to prove their identity digitally if they choose to do so. The measures will allow customers to create certified digital identities that make it easier and quicker for people to prove things about themselves.

“The Bill will strengthen the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) through the creation of a statutory board with a chair and chief executive, so it can remain a world-leading, independent data regulator and better support organisations to comply with data regulation.”

In February 2021, the UK’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport published a policy paper laying out draft rules for how service providers, businesses and other organisations will be able to implement the use of digital identities.

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