Editorial

Trust has to be the cornerstone of any successful national Identity scheme, agree practitioners

For us to get to a state where business stop collecting all our personal data needlessly, we may need to leverage historical legacies of trust, say panellists at last week’s Think Digital Identity for Government 2018

Posted 24 May 2018 by

For schemes like GOV.UK Verify to work, stakeholders should look to leverage public good-will about providers they believe will protect their Identities.

That was one of the main takeaways from last Friday’s highly successful Think Digital Identity for Government 2018, when experts with extensive experience of both public and private sector IT debated the so-called ‘trust principle’ and how to identify the best way forward for Digital Identity.

In the words of innovation consultant Sarah Walton, for example, organisations like banks, the NHS and local government have track records of trustworthy practice “at the generational” level.

That’s maybe even more the case for another prominent Digital Identity player and Verify partner, the Post Office, whose Chief Product Officer for Identity Services, Bryn Robinson-Morgan, points out has been offering reliable financial and other services to the British public for literally “hundreds of years”.

This deep trust legacy matters for Identity, Robinson-Morgan and other speakers at the one-day event noted, given the Cambridge Analytica data scandal and the first decline in US numbers of Facebook use.

“The public has become much more anxious about their digital identity, and the onset of GDPR has also alerted them to these huge data lakes being held by companies,” he added.

Indeed, trusted Identity may end up completely removing data from many brands’ asset registers, suggested others, who may see data as a liability and potential source of litigation and transactions may end up becoming much simpler, with no need for companies to keep asking for our mobile phone number and postcode when we buy a greetings card off them.

So a promising future for Verify – but only if the government starts to out its “shoulder to the wheel”, warned former Irish and UK senior government IT leader Bill McCluggage, who demanded that the Treasury “gets behind it” to make it a real state standard.

And as Alexi Walsh, GM for Identity Assurance at GBG reminded delegates, “Business wants a frictionless way of dealing with customer information, but there’s not yet enough of a Verify user database to make that the solution quite yet.”

Yet more great source for thought from a great conference. Maybe see you next year?

Main picture (c) Joseph Spear, Director Marketing, Mvine Ltd – with thanks