Implementing a 21st century approach to digital identity

There are some interesting lessons to learn from previous attempts in this article.

No commercial gatekeepers

The government needs to ensure that citizens are able to access digital public services in the same way that we’re all able to access face-to-face services. And we should be able to do so without being forced to sign up with a commercial intermediary which has no justifiable place in that relationship.

This seams like an obvious point but maybe there were good reasons to add the commercial intermediary at the time. I wonder if an open source solution managed by a foundation can fit in the gap instead.

Allow individuals to choose where to store data

There are a variety of options for where we might choose to store and manage our government-assured data – from mobile apps, to online service providers, to letting us store and manage it ourselves on a server running at home if we are so inclined.

I wonder if this choice is important. The technophile in me wants it to be true but I question if it is.

Benefits of the ecosystem

An ecosystem of trusted apps, services and data, all under direct citizen control, would let the UK implement an improved approach to identity and related data management fit for the 21st century. It would help individuals prove something about themselves when they need to, such as when opening a bank account, applying for a job or buying restricted goods online.

These are not real end user benefits. Are you able to get more bank accounts, or is getting one quicker the idea. If setting up an app slows you down getting your first bank account but speeds up subsequent applications that’s not very exciting either. I have opened three bank accounts in my life.