techUK: We need to do as much for Digital Identity as we’re doing for fintech

‘To ensure that the UK does not fall behind other countries, we must create an interoperable framework for digital IDs which spans the public and private sectors’

Posted 7 February 2019 by

If the UK is to reap the full potential of the digital economy, access to digital services must be seamless, simple and secure – which means the country must create an interoperable framework for digital identities that spans the public and private sectors.

This the warning from techUK, the body that claims to speak for the UK technology sector – which adds that the move is also needed to ensure that the UK does not fall behind other countries as we change our relationship with the rest of the European Union.

In fact, it seems that the group sees Digital Identity as central to any post-Brexit digital economy – with it issuing a new White Paper, The Case For Digital IDs, that, among other Digital ID supporting measures, argues that HMG should look to:

  • develop a Government policy for the creation of “a fully functioning Digital Identity ecosystem across public and private sectors”
  • release plans for the creation of a framework of digital identity standards open to all players
  • create “one point of contact” for digital ID within government
  • move to ensure digital IDs are on an equal footing as paper-based verification
  • look to create a lawful basis for the processing of biometric data.

The group argues that doing all this would also set the stage for a booming local Digital Id sector, with its CEO, Julian David, contending that, “Whether it is asking for new mobile identity solutions for retailers to be approved by law, or for easier access to key sources of public sector data to help combat fraud, too often tech companies encounter difficulties which delay or obstruct innovation.

“It is particularly frustrating for us as a UK industry body to hear that British companies do not experience these problems in other countries. We have shown it is possible to empower regulators to embrace innovation to make UK a world centre for innovation in fintech – we need to do the same now for digital identity.”

With its existing technological expertise, the UK is ideally placed to take a lead in developing digital identity, authentication techniques and standards, and to export this homegrown expertise overseas, the group is convinced.

techUk says that it represents the companies and technologies that are defining today the world that we will live in tomorrow, and that over 900 companies are members of techUK, collectively employing more than 700,000 people, with members ranging from leading FTSE 100 companies to new innovative start-ups (though the majority are small and medium sized businesses).