Editorial

Digital Identity: Global Roundup

Digital identity news from around the world

Posted 20 September 2021 by Christine Horton


Canada

The first online status card service for Indigenous Peoples has launched in Canada. The OneFeather’s status card (SCIS) application service allows Indigenous Peoples to renew, replace, or apply online.

​​“Our status card application process works to eliminate the pains of systemic racism by increasing accessibility,” said Lawrence Lewis, CEO of OneFeather. “Empowering Indigenous Peoples ensures our identities won’t be erased.”

To apply for or renew their status card, Indigenous individuals can create a OneFeather account by going to OneFeather.ca. Individuals verify their identity by uploading a selfie holding their current status card or picture ID and fill in the same information that would appear on the Government of Canada application. Individuals only need a OneFeather account, mobile device, or computer that can take a picture and that has an internet connection, and a guarantor with a current status card to verify their identity.

Indigenous Peoples living in remote areas often lack the necessary services required to fill out traditional applications – including printing, passport photography, and travel to post offices. OneFeather’s service eliminates this time-consuming process and Indigenous individuals no longer have to be concerned about their identity “expiring.”

Africa

The Digital Identities Design and Uses project is launching an evaluation of digital ID systems being deployed across Africa.

The project is operated by the Centre for Internet and Society and supported by Omidyar Network India. In 2019 the Centre for Internet and Society developed an Evaluation Framework for Digital Identity to examine digital ID systems worldwide across three types of test: rule of law, rights-based and risk-based.

The has now partnered with Research ICT Africa, a think tank devoted to the development of a sustainable information society and digital economy. Together they are working with local partners across ten African companies to apply their evaluation framework to the digital ID systems.

The country-level findings will go towards a “public repository” of African digital ID systems as a website entitled ‘State of Africa ID’ which will include notes on statutory, governance and design elements of digital ID in the countries covered: Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

Switzerland

Swiss printing and bookselling company Orell Füssli has acquired a majority stake in technology company Procivis which offers smartphone-based identity solutions.

Orell Füssli will offer both physical and digital identity and certificate solutions from a single source, based on secure and unalterable data from trustworthy sources.

Additional functionalities are intended to facilitate seamless, simple and efficient interactions and business processes for users, authorities and companies.

The implementation of this strategy requires innovative technologies and specific digital competencies. For this reason, Orell Füssli acquired a stake in Procivis in spring 2020, to realise the potential of a digital society with forward-looking technology solutions for digital identities and e-government.

Procivis’ smartphone-based identity solution has reportedly been successfully introduced at several customers and enables users to handle their own data in a self-determined way.

Estonia / Kenya

The President of Estonia has praised Kenya’s digital identity journey and says she believes the private sector can help push the initiative to greater heights.

President Kersti Kaljulaid was speaking while on a recent visit to the East African nation.

Kaljulaid lauded the rollout of the digital identity card (Huduma Namba) which started in 2019 in an interview with The Standard, noting that the document is designed in the same way as the digital identity card of her own country.

She shared the experience of Estonia’s own digital identity venture, mentioning how the private sector was able to get on board to give the government a significant push forward, leading the project to great success, reports Biometric Update.

“The private sector came on board and made this development sustainable because the government was relatively slow with its rollout. The private sector sustained us for this period and people did not get disappointed in the digital ID. They got to use it and realised that there were benefits in having just one access tool for every service in the country and also having an encrypted format for it,” Kaljulaid told The Standard.

Canada

The Canadian Province of Ontario has unveiled its digital identity standards and technology plan, ahead of a planned launch of the new digital ID this autumn.

Ontario plans to use emerging technical standards, and where possible publicly available open source solutions to stand up its digital ID system. The province also says it is implementing a self-sovereign identity trust model.

The government intends the provincial digital ID to be eventually be used across all industries, as well as for government services.

Key principles for the new digital ID system include adherence to the DIACC’s Pan-Canadian Trust Framework, open standards to encourage innovation by the private sector, and alignment and interoperability with other Canadian jurisdictions. Technology standards currently being considered include the W3C’s Verifiable Credentials, DID key management, and JSON-LD data format and the OpenID Foundation’s OIDC, as well as other standards from W3C, DIF, Hyperledger, and the Trust Over IP Foundation.

Baltics

Signicat has expanded its agreement with If’s to expand its customer operations in the Baltic states through its customer authentication solution.

Signicat has been a trust service provider for If Insurance for over 10 years in Finland, Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. Now, the cooperation has been expanded to include new markets in Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia.

Signicat has supplied If with secure customer authentication solutions for years. Signicat’s platform provides coverage of digital identity and electronic signing services across Europe, adhering to regulatory requirements. The use of digital identities for secure customer logins supports businesses such as If to manage risk, reduce fraud, and build trust with customers online.

The company recently acquired Norwegian Encap Security, the Spanish digital identity player, Electronic Identification, and Lithuanian electronic signing provider Dokobit, to strengthen its position in the European regtech market.