The UK Government Plans to Make Digital Identities Secure and Trusted Official Documents

The UK government has said its plans to promote the legal status and use of digital identities across the country.

According to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), the proposal aims to make digital identities “as widely recognized as driver’s licenses” and “as trusted and secure as official documents such as passports.”

The DCMS says digital identities will let people prove their identity faster and easier when attempting to purchase a house or starting a job.

There is still debate about what type of technology will replace the paper trail. However, the press release states that it could include any form of web-based services or phone app. The department also said that the use of digital identities would help boost privacy by restricting the personal information seen by an organization.

“For example, someone buying age-restricted goods would be able to prove they are over 18 without needing to disclose their date of birth, name or address,” the government body explained.

Among other advantages, the switch to digital identity products can help scale down personal data abuse and impersonation attempts made by fraudsters.

“For instance, 220,000 cases of personal data abuse and impersonation were recorded in 2019,” the DCMS said. “Digital identities could help reduce these cases as they are much harder for fraudsters to access and replicate.”

The proposal will not make the use of digital identities mandatory but will allow people who lack a traditional form of ID to prove their identity.

“Digital identity will widen access to legally valid forms of identification for people who currently find it difficult to prove something about themselves,” according to the DCMS. “For example, if someone does not have access to an official document, such as a passport, they may be able to prove their identity digitally through another government service, or other means such as a vouch from a doctor or other trustworthy source.”

More information about the project can be found here. The consultation seeking ways to implement digital identities is open to any members of the public until Sept. 13.