Editorial

Digital Identity: Global Roundup

Digital identity news from around the world

Posted 15 February 2021 by

Australia

The Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) is working on a new bill to extend its myGovID digital identity service use to the private sector, ZDNet reports.

The idea was first announced last November when DTA said it intended to provide identity verification alternatives to the myGovID developed by the Australian Taxation Office or the Australia Post Digital ID.

Now, Australia’s minister in charge of digital transformation, Stuart Robert, confirmed he is working on a trusted digital identity framework on behalf of the government.

“We’ll have another Act through the Parliament, this year, all going well, that allows other digital identities to be created,” he explained.

According to the minister, a number of private companies are already interested in the scheme, including DigiID from Australia PostEftpos, and PharmacyID.

In Australia, the operating model and rules for the operation of digital identity systems provided by the federal government are established by the Trusted Digital Identity Framework.

If passed, the new legislation will now extend the Trusted Digital Identity Framework to state and territory governments and the private sector.

However, privacy concerns have been slowing down the adoption of the legislation by preventing the sharing of data, including biometrics, for fear that law enforcement could have access to it.

“For example, I can’t use Medicare data to assist you with a simple inquiry,” Robert explained. “I can’t use disability data for a disability support payment to help you get on the NDIS.”

These issues will be tackled in the upcoming bill, by explicitly allowing the use of data only for service delivery.

Europe

Digital identity company Signicat and SaaS banking platform Mambu have partnered to make a range of identity verification methods available. This, they say, gives financial service providers across Europe the ability to onboard customers digitally, conduct web-based identity authentication, and use legally-binding electronic signatures.

The pair cite research that claims 63 percent of European consumers quit at least one financial application in the last year. They add that the partnership gives financial service providers tools to reduce this dropout rate and increase customer acquisition.

The partnership follows Mambu’s recent €110m funding round. The company aims to expand further across Europe and capitalise on the growing banking software market, valued by Gartner at $100 billion.

United States

A bipartisan pair of House lawmakers is planning to revive a bill in the coming weeks that would revamp the government’s approach to personal digital identification for US citizens, reports Politico.

The legislation — dubbed the “Improving Digital Identity Act” — was introduced last year but expired at the end of the 116th Congress without being acted on. Now, the measure’s main boosters — Reps. Bill Foster (D-Ill.) and John Katko (R-N.Y.) — intend to reintroduce it in the next four to eight weeks.

“The whole issue of having a secure digital identity for citizens who want it is something that we expect movement on this year, there’s just a number of political and technological forces that are converging to force the issue,” said Foster.

Those include the implementation of the Real ID enforcement deadline in October and the rise in telehealth services due to the Covid-19 pandemic. “There’s just a long list of government uses once you have this ID” that would make the federal government “a leader instead of a laggard,” said Foster, a member of the House Financial Services Committee. He said those uses could range from electronic health records to voter identification.

The original legislation called for creating a task force of federal, state and local governments charged with establishing a new standards-based, comprehensive approach to digital identity verification services. It also directed NIST to create a new framework of standards to guide government agencies when providing digital identity verification services and established a DHS grant program for states to upgrade systems used for driver’s licenses and other credentials using the NIST guidelines.

India

National newspapers in India are reporting a “less than enthusiastic response” to a plan to create national health identities under the National Digital Health Mission with only 8,05,674 health IDs being created in the nearly six months since its launch.

This means that on an average only 4,475 people have come forward to get themselves registered to digitally record their health details every day. The highest number of IDs was created in Puducherry and only about half the fund of Rs 1 crore, allocated for the initiative in the current financial year, had been spent so far.

The mission was announced by PM Narendra Modi on August 15 last year. Among other things, the plan is mainly aimed at providing easy access to electronic health records to people, generating longitudinal health record data and ensuring privacy of personal health data along with consent-based access to electronic health records.

According to officials, health IDs can be created by providing basic information that includes full name, year of birth, gender, and either a mobile number or an Aadhaar number.

Liked this article?

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive the latest digital transformation news directly to your inbox.