Digital Identity: Global Roundup

Digital identity news from around the world

Posted 23 May 2022 by Christine Horton


Three charities have filed suit against the government, saying women and the elderly are missing out on healthcare and welfare benefits due to flaws in the identity card rollout.

In Uganda is reported that op to one-third of adults lack national ID, and the elderly and women in particular are missing out on state benefits and healthcare because of this.

The three charities – the Initiative for Social and Economic Rights, Unwanted Witness and the Health Equity and Policy Initiative – estimate up to one-third of adults do not have the biometric ID card, seven years after the system was introduced.

Most of those affected are poor and marginalised such as the elderly who have been unable to claim welfare payments, as well as pregnant women who have been turned away from health centres, they said, citing research conducted last year.

The lack of a national ID has also prevented many Ugandans from opening a bank account, buying a mobile SIM card, enrolling in college, gaining formal employment and getting a passport, they added.

The three organisations filed the lawsuit on April 25, saying the mandatory use of the national ID was exclusionary and violated citizens’ rights to key services. They want the court to compel the government to accept alternative forms of identification for social and healthcare services.

United Kingdom

Forty percent of hiring managers in the UK say they feel unprepared for digital Right to Work (RTW) screenings, despite the Home Office introducing this method following the success of the emergency measures during the pandemic. This is according to a recent poll by specialist background screening and identity services firm Sterling.

Following the positive feedback received about the ability to conduct right to work checks remotely during the Covid-19 pandemic, the Home Office announced the permanent option of digital checks from April 6, 2022. Sterling found that 38 percent of hiring managers were unsure about the process, nine percent believed it would be a challenging process, and one percent indicated that they would prefer traditional screening methods.

A later survey from Sterling found that 81 percent of attendees agreed that the move to digital identity would be a positive one, indicating that employers are perhaps unaware of the benefits that this switch will have for businesses.

Steve Smith, managing director EMEA at Sterling, said: “The results of our webinar poll certainly indicate that employers are apprehensive about the digital identity transition, but our post-poll confirms that a lot of this reticence comes from a lack of understanding around the finer details, rather than a complete reluctance to the move.”


The European Commission has pushed back the deadline for the second wave of Digital Europe Programme proposals that includes the European Digital Identity Wallet under the European Digital Identity framework.

The second wave of proposals covers €58 million in funding to support the implementation of the European Digital Identity Framework and the implementation of the Once Only System under the Single Digital Gateway Regulation, along with the deployment of services for European blockchain services infrastructure, blockchain standardisation, and artificial intelligence (AI)-based pilots to aid law enforcement. Originally scheduled to end on May 17, 2022, the new deadline is August 17, 2022.


The Bangladesh government is considering imposing fees for digital identity verification services in a bid to make the process self-sustaining.

The measure may increase the cost of government services that require identity verification, although specifics of how the fee will be imposed are yet to be decided.

Currently, Digicon Global Services Ltd provides identity verification services to government agencies free of charge. The company covers its expenses by charging private companies for the same services.

Digicon provides identity verification services through Real-time E-KYC and the identity management platform Porichoy, which is connected to the Election Commission’s national database. The Bangladesh Computer Council (BCC) owns Porichoy, including an app developed under the Bangladesh National Digital Architecture (BNDA) framework in collaboration with the ICT Division and Election Commission.

Sources said they had been making some money from private companies through their identity verification services, but the amount was not sufficient to meet all their expenses. As a result, the government had been subsidising the identity verification process.

Imposing an identity verification fee would not only help make the verification process self-sustaining, but also help generate revenue for the government, the sources added.


An until-now unseen report from over three years ago suggests major changes to Australia’s digital ID system. The measures include more use of biometrics for identity verification and the expansion of the use of facial recognition technology beyond the public sector.

These are among 26 recommendations from an independent review of the country’s digital ID system which was completed and handed to the federal government in 2019, but which was never made public until now, iTnews reported.

The outlet obtained the 92-page review report under freedom of information laws. The review, iTnews notes, was steered by former Attorney-General’s Department secretary Roger Wilkins and David Lacey, managing director of identity theft and cyber support firm IDcare.

According to the review, Australia’s current digital ID system is not fit for a future of many online transactions as it contains many “weaknesses and deficiencies.”


Canada’s chief information officer (CIO) said she is looking to refresh the country’s digital strategy with major reforms, with an emphasis on digital identity.

CIO Catherine Luelo told the Global Government Forum that the 2022 federal budget promised greater legislative latitude for the Canadian Digital Service to provide its digital platform more broadly, jolting its role as an internal innovator for the government.

The digital innovation strategy will seek to promote four pillars, and digital identity is one of them. “We are getting very aggressive with the fact that we need to advance the digital identity file for Canada,” she said.

Over the next six months, Luelo says the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) will collaborate with Canada’s provinces and territories on a workable plan for three layers of digital identity. The first involves moving national bodies to a common enterprise platform for federal services to compress their platforms into a single location, rather than “46 existing front doors.” The second layer will develop a “pan-Canadian trust framework” to set rules for data management. The third layer entails an ‘integration transit layer’ to ensure compatibility with digital IDs across the public sector, “so that the provincial ID is usable for all services, and all services link into this common platform, and there’s a handshake.”

The overhauled digital strategy is Luelo’s attempt to address concerns she raised at IdentityNORTH in April, where she warned that Canada is “very far behind” on national digital ID.

Also Canada

The government has announced it worked with airlines to consider requiring “digital identity documents” and biometric data like facial recognition for pre-aircraft boarding requirements.

A May 14 statement published in the Canada Gazette on Regulations Amending the Secure Air Travel Regulations and the Designated Provisions Regulations details how the Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness discussed the proposed requirements during an air travel stakeholder exercise.

“In accordance with (Public Safety’s) Forward Regulatory Plan 2021–2023, the need to update the (Secure Air Travel Regulations) to offer more options to travellers and the industry to meet pre-aircraft boarding identity verification requirements through innovation was also considered during the stakeholder consultation exercises,” said the statement.

“This includes digitized identification documents, digital identity documents and biometric travel documents.”