Editorial

Digital Identity: Global Roundup

Digital identity news from around the world

Posted 28 November 2022 by Christine Horton


Scotland

The digital directorate of the Scottish Government is aiming to develop attribute stores for citizens as part of its Digital Identity Scotland programme.

Policy lead Gavin Ross revealed the plan at the Think Digital Identity for Government conference, saying it is one of three core components of the effort to produce a digital identity mechanism for the country’s public services.

He said the ambition is for users of the service to have a secure online space for the attributes that support their identity verification. They would have control of the data and could re-use it when applying for other services, with the possibility of it working for private sector offerings.

A pilot of the new service with Disclosure Scotland is planned for next year, and the directorate has launched a public engagement exercise as part of the programme.

United Kingdom / United States

UK digital identity provider Intercede saw revenue grow 24% in H1 as it closed several significant wins in government and defence, especially in the US.

The business already has a strong US base with an office just outside Washington DC and during H1 saw multiple orders from the US Department of State (DoS) for its MyID PIV Identity Management System (IDMS) solution totalling $1.6 million. Several major customers have also chosen to upgrade their existing MyID deployments including a global aerospace and defence manufacturer, a UK government department, a US central bank and a major US government agency.

Intercede’s MyID platform is a credential management system (CMS) and ID&V solution that integrates and manages a broad range of PKI (Public Key Infrastructure) and FIDO (Faster Identity Online) technologies.

In October the firm announced its first M&A deal with the acquisition of Authlogics Ltd, a UK-based company which providers Multi Factor Authentication (MFA) and Password Security Management (PSM)

Philippines

Twala, a Web 3.0 firm in the Philippines, has unveiled its digital self-sovereign ID (SSI) product designed to improve processes requiring the identification of individuals.

The firm said that SSI would leverage distributed ledger technology (DLT), or blockchain, for the offering because of the privacy it affords users. The absence of intermediaries would ensure the safety of user data while ensuring that the communications between the identity holder and the verifying authority are streamlined.

Alex Quinit, the co-founder of Twala, notes that the core purpose of SSI is to give individuals greater control over how their data is shared while limiting misuse by bad actors.

United States

The Cybersecurity Coalition, Better Identity Coalition, Identity Theft Resource Center, US Chamber of Commerce Technology Engagement Center and others want Congress to include digital identity legislation in its year-end spending bill, they wrote in a letter to the top Republican and Democratic leaders in Congress.

The measure would give the federal government a bigger role in the digital identity space with opt-in identity validation services while setting up a task force to identify best practices for digital identity credentials. The bill has evolved since being reintroduced in June 2021. Most notably, the current version no longer has provisions to establish a grant programme to fund upgrades to digital identity credentialing systems at the state and local level.

The letter’s signees point to increases in identity theft and fraud during the pandemic, referencing the Labor Department watchdog’s estimate of around $45 billion being paid out to fraudsters between 2020 and 2022.

New Zealand

The New Zealand government is banking on an online system for checking people’s identity despite questions over its implications for humans rights, ethics and Māori.

The Department of Internal Affairs’ (DIA) Identity Check is being tested in a nationwide pilot, while the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) has also tested a mock version of its own system with beneficiaries, which will integrate with DIA’s tool and let them verify their identity online.

However, it is reported that the Ministry of Social Development is lacking a privacy, human rights and ethics framework.

The DIA has launched a nationwide pilot even though “no specific Māori engagement has been conducted regarding Identity Check.”

OIA documents show the Identity Check system could be used more than 250,000 times a year, each by larger public agencies or companies.

They will have to pay between 15 cents and 40 cents per check, which appears to be subsidised, as each check costs the government $1.50-$1.90 in licensing fees to DIA’s facial recognition supplier, Daon, the OIA said.

The documents also show MSD came within weeks of launching an earlier version of its online identity verification system, before finding “critical gaps in the [DIA] tool”.

The ministry completed a privacy, human rights and ethics report at the time, in mid-2020, reports SecurityBrief New Zealand. But when RNZ asked for it, MSD said it “does not exist.”

United Kingdom

Research by GBG has found that two in three (66%) people in the UK think that businesses are cutting corners when it comes to protecting them from fraud by failing to check and verify people’s identities online. And 65% think this consequently costs businesses more in the long term.

They are right to be concerned with 94% of business leaders, c-suite chief security officers (CSO) and chief information security officers (CISO) surveyed confirming that businesses are indeed cutting corners and opening the door to more identity fraud by not having sufficient measures in place to check and verify identities online.

Despite this, only 34% of UK consumers think the cost of cutting corners is then passed to them. In reality, 87% of business leaders confirm that identity fraud costs are passed onto consumers in the form of increased prices. According to the business leaders surveyed, nearly a fifth (17%) of the total cost of identity fraud, on average, is passed on to consumers.

In the last 12 months, business leaders estimate that identity fraud has on average cost their business £398,520, meaning £67,748 of this cost has been picked up by consumers in the form of increased prices. According to CIFAS, 2022 has already seen rising levels of identity fraud with fraud cases set to soar amidst the cost-of-living crisis.

Southern Europe

Distributor Westcon-Comstor has signed a new distribution agreement with Okta, the leading independent identity provider. The partnership will bring Okta’s identity-first zero-trust security solution to the Southern region – France, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece.

“As we look to expand our footprint in the Southern region, Westcon-Comstor became an obvious partner for us. As they leverage our top technologies such as Zscaler, Palo Alto Networks, Proofpoint and others, we are excited to be partnering with them. It makes Westcon the natural fit for us,” said Giovanni Natalino, head of channel & alliances EMEA.

Philippines

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) has reported progress in issuing the digital printed version of the Philippines national ID (PhilID) called ePhilID in the country, as per Biometric Update.

The distribution of physical versions of the cards has also been progressing at pace thanks to the PSA’s partnership with the country’s central bank (Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas).

According to a press release from the PSA, applicants across the country received a total of 2,063,007 printed digital PhilIDs as of November 11.

This has been possible thanks to the 1,535 registration centers and 3,926 registration kits made available by the PSA. The issuance of the printed PhilIDs started last month.

Uganda

The Committee on Defence and Internal Affairs of the Parliament of Uganda has announced plans to investigate the problems surrounding the country’s national digital ID card project, which is run by German company Veridos.

The announcement comes after committee members met with officials of Muhlbauer, another German firm that produced national ID cards for Ugandans between 2010 and 2018.

The committee says it intends to find out why the government is investing substantial sums of money in Veridos for a new ID card printing facility while the one used by Muhlbauer is said to still be in good working condition.

Committee members will also reportedly look into Veridos’s ability to meet Ugandans’ needs.

Belgium

Belgium is carrying out test operations in line with the government’s plan of introducing an application from 2023 to contain mobile driver’s licences and other credentials.

An announcement from Mathieu Michel, secretary of state for digitalisation, indicates that the myID.be wallet will contain the digital version of a citizens’ national ID cards which can be used in the conduct of official transactions.

Other documents such as the driver’s licence can also be stored on the app, which Michel says can also be integrated with the systems of other state authorities like communes.

The digital wallet will provide an alternative to the popular itsme app. VRT NWS reports it is accessed through a QR code, while itsme logins are carried out with the user’s phone number.

The secretary of state also says the digital wallet will be rolled out in line with regulations of the European Union’s electronic Identification, Authentication and trust Services (eIDAS), the EU’s legislation on cybersecurity (NIS2), and the Single Digital Gateway requirements.