Editorial

UK rolls out next phase of digital identity framework

Digital Minister Julia Lopez has announced a new beta version of the framework, which sets out rules and standards designed to establish trust in digital identity products

Posted 14 June 2022 by Christine Horton


The UK government has taken another step in rolling out its digital identity and attributes trust framework.

This latest version of trust framework beta version follows two previous iterations published in February and August 2021. Now, Digital Minister Julia Lopez has announced a new beta version of the framework, which sets out rules and standards designed to establish trust in digital identity products.

“Over the past 18 months, we have worked with over 250 organisations across civil society, industry, standards bodies, and academia to test whether we’ve got these rules and standards right,” she said.

Seeking out views from the public has been central to moving the trust framework to beta phase, she added. Research on public perceptions of digital identities and attributes conducted by BritainThinks discovered that users wanted digital identities to be easy to use, safe, reliable, and offer control over personal data, with clarity over providers’ business models. Lopez said the government has “taken all of these into account when updating the trust framework.”

There have been several changes to this version of the framework. For example, the previous version outlined three role types that providers could play under the trust framework: identity, attribute, and orchestration service providers. During alpha testing, some organisations expressed concerns that their services were not captured by any of these three broad role types. In particular, digital wallet providers and providers operating business-to-business models found it difficult to identify what trust framework rules they needed to meet.

As a result, the government has developed sub-roles for each of the three roles. Any of the roles can be played by organisations operating a business-to-business model.

There is a full list of the updated here.

Testing to continue

With the publication of the beta update, Lopez said the government will be able to test the effectiveness of the trust framework, including enabling digital right to work, rent, and criminal record checks. This testing will continue until it is confident the trust framework is ready to go live, said Lopez.

“We will use sandboxes and live market testing to ensure that the trust framework is fit for use in the real world. Testing during the beta phase will also allow industry to show consumers how trustworthy digital identity and attribute products can benefit them by offering simple and secure ways for people to prove things about themselves.”

Further information on beta testing will be published in due course, she added.

You can get a more detailed update on the digital identity and attributes trust framework if you register for Thursdays Digital Identity for Government conference. It is a hybrid event so you can attend in person at the lovely Westminster venue or virtually on the day.