Last year the UK government consulted on its legislative proposals for enabling the use of digital identities and attribute services in the UK economy.  The idea is that people can prove their identity online, which makes things easier for consumers, and reduces the incidence of fraud.  The government has now issued its response and analysis of key findings from the consultation. 

The government intends to bring forward the necessary legislation when parliamentary time allows to:

•    Establish a robust and secure accreditation and certification process and trustmark so organisations can clearly prove they are meeting the highest security and privacy standards needed to use digital identities.

•    Create a legal gateway to allow trusted organisations to carry out verification checks against official data held by public bodies to help validate a person’s identity.

•    Confirm the legal validity of digital forms of identification are equal to physical forms of identification, such as physical passports,

A new Office for Digital Identities and Attributes (ODIA) will be set up in the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport as an interim governing body for digital identities. The ODIA will have the power to issue an easily recognised trustmark to certified digital identity organisations, to prove they meet the security and privacy standards needed to handle people’s data in a safe and consistent way.

The government was at pains to make clear that it is not proposing a system that could lead to the announcement of mandatory ID cards.  Digital ID should make peoples’ lives easier, but public trust will need to be won, and people will also need to be reassured that the systems will actually work effectively.