Digital identity, data and cybersecurity all focus areas in 2024, says UK Government

The government’s efforts were outlined in the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology’s (DSIT) Areas of Research Interest 2024.

Posted 29 February 2024 by Christine Horton

The government is seeking to gather further evidence on how best to enable more inclusive digital identity services while maintaining robust security measures.

The government’s efforts were outlined in the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology’s (DSIT) Areas of Research Interest 2024, which was published this week.

The document noted that the Cyber Security and Digital Identity (CSDI) directorate, part of the DSIT, was addressing issues such as how can governance and standards frameworks encourage greater inclusion and security across the ecosystem. It is also looking at what a good framework for measuring inclusion in digital identity markets look like, and how it can minimise security and privacy risks within digital identity solutions, among other questions.

The government is not mandating a specific approach, but instead has committed to setting outcomes-based standards in the form of the UK digital identity & attributes trust framework. Organisations that adhere to these standards and agree to oversight from the Office for Digital Identities and Attributes (OfDIA) will receive a trust mark, so that businesses and individuals can be confident that their digital identity solution is safe and secure.

National Data Strategy

The DSIT also said it was focused on defining and monitoring the data ecosystem and economy, generating evidence for intervention and understanding the impacts of policies.

“DSIT is committed to improving data sharing. The NDS [National Data Strategy] Mission 1 Policy Framework outlines the principles for intervention and priority areas for action for unlocking data value. Addressing the barriers to optimal data use and reuse is an important area of interest,” it said.

The government said it has held a consultation on reforms to the UK’s data protection regime. The approach for data protection change is set out in the documentation for a new data direction. DP is working to ensure that UK GDPR, the ICO and other parts of the data protection regime are fit for purpose. Evidence relating to privacy and trust in data and data use and the impacts of data regulation would help to address some of the directorate’s key questions.

Driving cybersecurity

Elsewhere, DSIT is “working to identify which mitigations the government can leverage” to ensure the UK is protected against cyberattacks.

It is assessing the impact of these mitigations in driving enhanced security measures. A key area of research interest is understanding the consequences of requiring higher levels of cybersecurity for products and digital services sold in the UK. “Strengthening this evidence base will help shape and inform future policy work around the regulation of products and business requirements for cyber security,” it said.

“Some technologies are critical to cyberspace. To build and sustain a competitive edge in cyber-related technologies we need a coordinated, rigorous and consistent approach to identify and analyse critical areas of science and technology and prioritise national effort. CSDI is interested in being able to better anticipate the science and technology developments most vital to UK cyber power and in analysing the cyber opportunities and risks related to those developments.”

All these challenges and opportunities will be debated at Think Digital Identity and Cybersecurity for Government on May 8, and Think Data for Government on June 5, 2024. Register now.