Digital Identity: Global Roundup

Digital identity news from around the world

Posted 16 May 2022 by Christine Horton


The federal government’s $450 million digital identity scheme is “over-engineered” and has cost too much for what has been delivered so far, according to former government chief information officer Glenn Archer.

Archer, who was closely involved with the early days of the digital identity programme as chair of the government authentication governance committee, said there is little to show for the scheme more than six years since it officially launched.

The digital identity scheme was launched as a whole-of-government initiative aiming to provide identity verification across a range of government services and private sector offerings.

Speaking to InnovationAus.com, Archer said: “The programme itself was possibly too ambitious. The initiative and the need for a common digital identity framework is absolutely necessary.

“We don’t have a lot to show for it. Where’s the legislation? Without that it’s less than effective. I think it has taken way too long. It’s over-engineered for what it needs to be and it has cost too much, and it doesn’t actually deliver any benefits yet.”


There have been 30 million accounts created as part of the Italian national digital ID scheme, of which 10 million were activated in the last 12 months.

The Italian Government says the use of the digital IDs has become more widespread across the country, particularly to take advantage of the online services of the Public Administration.

More than half a billion service access requests were reportedly recorded in 2021 using the SPID, and approximately 330 million in the first quarter of 2022.

Citizens signing up for an SPID must already possess a valid identification document, such as the national digital ID card produced by Thales. Twenty-eight million people now possess that document, according to the government.


Citizens of Morocco can now scan information from their contactless National Electronic Identity Card (CNIE) to create a digital identity using a national digital identity platform launched by the country’s Digital Development Agency and General Directorate of National Security (DGNS).

Users can access the service via the My Digital Identity app and use their digital ID to verify their identity when accessing a range of public and private online services by securely sharing personal data from their CNIE card.

They can select which information they consent to share and add further layers of authentication — such as biometric fingerprint, face recognition or a one-time password — according to the level of security required.

United States

Forty-two million Americans were victims of digital identity fraud last year, according to new research.

A report by Javelin Strategy & Research reveals that last year there was a 109 percent jump in new-account fraud, a 90 percent leap in account takeovers, and an 18 percent increase in peer-to-peer payment fraud, Payments Journal reports. Fully $52 billion was lost to digital ID fraud, according to Javelin.

The total impact of traditional digital identity fraud – the misuse of a consumer’s personal information – a loss of $24 billion for 15 million consumers.

The financial damage from identity fraud scams involving direct contact with victims by criminals totaled $28 billion for 27 million consumers.

The losses are lower than in 2020, according to Javelin, when $56 billion was stolen. (Traditional identity fraud measured $13 billion that year.)

United Kingdom / France

London-based global cloud-based payments provider Checkout.com is to acquire French digital identity verification (IDV) startup, ubble.

The news comes just months after Checkout.com raised $1bn in its Series D funding round at a valuation of $40bn.

The acquisition of ubble will enable Checkout.com to expand its current suite of financial products that allows fintechs and e-commerce merchants to accept and send payments to and from their customers while managing the financial risk involved.


Despite already spending €341 million since 2007 on research into artificial intelligence technologies for immigration, asylum and border control, the proposed EU AI Act would not regulate such applications of AI and biometrics, claims a report published by Statewatch in a coalition with other human rights organisations.

“A clear and present danger: Missing safeguards on migration and asylum in the EU’s AI Act’ collates dozens of examples of existing and proposed projects spanning biometric identification and verification devices, automated data-gathering, predictive analysis software, databases and even border control robots. It finds that these are either insufficiently covered or excluded by the proposed AI Act.


The Canadian federal government is trying to protect the Royal Canadian Mounted Police from a potential class action lawsuit that stems from the RCMP’s use of Clearview AI’s facial recognition technology. The suit was originally filed by Quebec photographer Ha Vi Doan, but could apply to millions of Canadians if the Federal Court grants class-action certification.

The federal government is trying to prevent that from happening. To do so, it is arguing that Doan cannot prove that the RCMP searched for and accessed photos of her specifically, and that she therefore cannot prove that her rights were violated or that she suffered any material damages. The government’s lawyers also suggested that using a search tool like Clearview is not materially different from performing a manual search on an app like Facebook.

Doan is arguing that the RCMP should have known that Clearview was committing privacy and copyright violations when it signed a contract with the company. Canadian Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien agrees with that assessment. Therrien ruled that the RCMP partnered with Clearview in an effort to get around a clause that prevents government agencies from collecting personal information. Instead, the RCMP relied on Clearview to gain access to information that it could not gather itself, and the contract was therefore in violation of Canadian privacy law.

The RCMP used Clearview AI to perform 521 searches between October 2019 and July of 2020, when Clearview terminated all of its contracts in Canada in response to privacy legislation.