Digital Identity: Global Roundup

Digital identity news from around the world

Posted 6 September 2021 by Christine Horton

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is using a digital identity app to receive Umrah pilgrims.

The Shaaer smart card app is the official Hajj application launched by the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah to serve the pilgrims following precautionary procedures to stem the spread of coronavirus.

The app was introduced during the last Hajj season to serve as a digital identity for the pilgrim. In the next phase the app will be issued for the Umrah pilgrims coming from abroad.

It contains pilgrim’s personal, health, and housing information, and enables him to record his health information and review the schedules, as well as gain knowledge of the Hajj program.


Europe’s Digital COVID Certificate (DCC) is being held up as a potential global standard for digital health passes by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

IATA has its own Travel Pass, which supports the DCC, but praised the speed with which the European Commission delivered the DCC, and its satisfaction of what the group sees as several key criteria, as per Biometric Update.

“The DCC’s flexible format, with both digital and paper versions, the inclusion of a QR code containing essential information and a digital signature for authentication, and its verification and digital identity authentication capabilities make the DCC effective, according to the announcement. The EU provides a gateway for the authentication of signatures on certificates granted by EU issuers or other authorities, as well as a specification for machine readable validation rules.”

Conrad Clifford, deputy director general of IATA, suggests the EU DCC could be used as a “blueprint” by other countries attempting to facilitate a return to normal levels of air traffic.


Entersekt has partnered with BankID to provide Norwegian banks with secure in-app and browser authentication, supporting requirements for digital identity, e-signatures and customer authentication on a single platform.

“Including the Norwegian e-ID on our security and authentication platform gives Norwegian banks the opportunity to work with a single partner for all their authentication needs, including biometrics, app security, and passwordless login features,” says Frans Labuschagne, VP channel partnerships at Entersekt.

“Consolidating our offering to include BankID opens the door for banks to fast-track their digital enablement journeys. It can help them reach and acquire customers, launch new services, and multiply revenue streams while meeting compliance obligations with confidence – all via a single platform.”

Norwegian banks have been working together since 2000 to deliver a secure digital identity for their customers. Today, 4.3 million Norwegians make use of BankID as their primary means to identify themselves, give consent or authorise transactions.


The Dutch State Secretary for the Interior and Kingdom Relations Raymond Knops says government has a clear task to facilitate a reliable national digital identity infrastructure for the benefit of citizens and businesses, via a letter to parliament on digital identity.

In the future, Dutch citizens will have a unique digital foundational identity (DFI) aiming to speed up innovation and give people sovereignty over personal data as well as providing freedom of choice in terms of digital identity market solutions. The DFI will contain verified identity data that can be used to fuel derived digital identities in the same way physical identity documents (such as a passport and driver’s licence) do today.

In April Michiel van der Veen of the National Service for Identity Data (RvIG) said that accessibility for everyone would include a non-digital option of the system. The DFI could also boost economic performance by providing a way for people to interact with businesses across the EU under eIDAS regulation, and easing KYC and AML checks.


The Austrlaian federal government will pay Accenture more than $3 million per month across the next year to work on its digital identity scheme, with the firm scoring a lucrative contract amendment that quadrupled its original price to $50 million.

Across the first half of 2021, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) paid Accenture more than $2 million per month for a digital identity piece of work, on a contract worth a total of more than $14 million.

This contract has now been amended, with the work to be extended to the end of June next year, and the already-amended price more than tripled to just under $54 million.

Accenture will now be paid about $40 million in the current financial year for work on the digital identity program – more than $3 million per month.

The work on digital identity for the ATO involves new functionality and enhancements for the myGovID digital identity service, and wider work with the Digital Transformation Agency on the broader programme.


Members of a ‘stateless’ community in Kenya known as the Shona have received digital ID cards from the Kenyan government, ending approximately five decades of their statelessness.

The Shona community is reported to have received their digital ID cards on July 28, to the excitement of many. Up to now they have found it difficult seeking medical attention in hospital or have faced arrest from security officers for lack of an ID card.

There are an estimated 2,600 Shona people living in about 900 households in Kenya as children of missionaries who came into the country in the 1960s, from then Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe).

United States

Apple’s plan to digitize drivers’ licences and state IDs is progressing.

The digital licence and ID data is stored on an individual’s iPhone but a driver’s licence must be verified by the participating state. So far Apple has secured two US states, Arizona and Georgia.

Connecticut, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Oklahoma and Utah are expected to follow, but a timeline for rolling out wasn’t given.

Apple said in June that it would begin supporting digital licences and IDs, and that the TSA would be the first agency to begin accepting a digital licence from an iPhone at several airports, since only a state ID is required for traveling by air domestically within the US. The TSA will allow users to present your digital wallet by tapping it on an identity reader. Apple says the feature is secure and doesn’t require handing over or unlocking their phone.

South Africa

There is a growing need for a digital identity programme in in South Africa, to reap more economic benefits from the fourth industrial revolution (4IR), according to a new report.

The report, Digital Identity – A South African Journey, commissioned by BankservAfrica and compiled by PwC, maps out SA’s digital identity story, envisioning a more digital inclusive country.

It notes that due to identity management’s critical role in the 4IR, there is a growing need for a digital identity programme in the country, adding the time has come for consumers, investors and the private and public sectors to work collectively to achieve the goal.

The report says: “Collaboration by all parties and stakeholders involved is fundamental to the success of a digital identity rollout in South Africa. With society demanding more from businesses and stakeholders, there is a greater need for the public and private sectors to work together to put the customer first, thereby giving the customer control of their own identity. It is no longer enough for each organisation to go its own way.”

Eastern Europe

Signicat has acquired Baltic and Icelandic electronic signing firm Dokobit, providing businesses cross-border signing capabilities. Like Signicat, Dokobit is one of the few Qualified Trust Service Providers (QTSP) on the EU Trust List, ensuring strict assurance for validation of electronic signatures.

The acquisition strengthens Signicat’s product portfolio and expands its market reach into the Baltic countries, helping propel Signicat into Eastern European markets.

Signicat is one of the fastest growing companies in Europe in a ranking by Financial Times. Revenues increased from EUR 24 million in 2019 to EUR 42 million last year. So far this year, the company has acquired two companies, Norwegian Encap Security and Spanish ElectronicIDentification (eID) enhancing its leadership position in the European RegTech market. Now, the company is announcing it has acquired Lithuanian Dokobit, the largest e-signature solutions provider in the Baltic market.

United States

The US government wants to hear from vendors interested in creating a digital ID verification service that the government is considering for its shared authentication platform.

A General Services Administration request has been published seeking information about how a vendor would provide document checks for real-time ID verification of citizens using the federal government’s login.gov authentication platform.

The deadline for submission is September 7.

Login.gov is designed to give people secure digital ID accounts through which citizen access all participating federal agencies. The accounts must meet the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Identity Assurance Level IAL2 through remote proofing.

The GSA wants to hear how a vendor would integrate its systems in the collection of identity document information using login.gov, which would send data, including name, social security number, birth date, to the vendor.