UK plans to revamp digital identity system by handing over to private sector in 2020

The UK government recently unveiled plans to pass on the management of the Verify system to the private sector, after a period of unsuccessful results. Regardless of who takes over the responsibility, handling digital identities is a major task and should be approached with due concern.

In October, the UK government announced that it will ceased investment in ‘Verify’, the digital identity system. The decision was later followed by moves of opening up opportunities for the private sector to take over.

“The Government expects that commercial organisations will create and reuse digital identities, and accelerate the creation of an interoperable digital identity market,” said Oliver Dowden, Minister for Implementation at the Cabinet Office.

“The approach announced today ensures that Gov.uk Verify will continue to protect public sector digital services from cyber threats, including identity fraud, and other malicious activity. In addition, the contracts enable the private sector to develop affordable identity assurance services that will meet future private and public sector needs,”

Verify was launched in 2011 with the aim of providing a single platform for public services, from tax collection to benefits. An integrated modern ID system means that separate departments don’t have to set up their own, saving time and resources.

Although the idea behind Verify was sound, its execution has been poor and disappointing: 56% of people who try to create a Verify identity are unable to do so.

What is digital identity?

A digital identity is a set of information about an individual or an entity, stored in computer systems. This file is used to assess and authenticate the identity of a user looking to work with or access a service.

Digital identity is perhaps the single most important asset individuals possess in this age, so there is much at stake in a digital ID system. One of the fundamental problems with such systems is cybersecurity. In this year alone, half a million users had their data exposed with the hack of Google+, and another 29 million in the Facebook data breach.

On the other hand, new legislation has been put in place to start tackling the vulnerabilities within the cyber environment — one of the most significant being the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which imposes hefty fines on companies and institutions which do not carefully follow the instructions set out to protect their users’ information.

Data security is a highly concerning problem because it has been growing at an exceedingly quick pace: 90 percent of the world’s data was generated over the last two years alone, while 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are being created every day.

There is evidently an urgent to develop systems that can store, support and manage such an amount of information effectively. The best approach is a collective one, where governments, companies and individuals work together.

Creating a secure and authentic system powered by blockchain

Because of its decentralisation, automated data and strong security framework, blockchain is an ideal underlying structural technology to underpin online platforms that promote more authentic relationships between users and a healthier social media environment overall.

In order to address the issue, innovative technology companies are deploying disruptive tools to build a verified, secure and fast system to integrate digital identities whilst leaving each user fully in control of their own information.

Right of Reply (RoR) is one of the leading projects in this space. Led by a team of digital identity experts, RoR is developing multiple blockchain-powered platforms that integrate digital ID into different sectors, such as financial services, online media and social networks.

RoRKey, one of Right of Reply subsidiaries, focuses on aligning digital and real identity to allow verifiable identity and truth. RoRKey offers verified digital reputation identities for registered users (DRI Standard and DRI Pro), which allow them to interact in a secure and protected ecosystem in various social communications and online media content, as well as offering a verified ID that can used for different services within Right of Reply and its partners.

Right of Reply and RorKey are planning to partner with other third parties such as financial institutions, utility and insurance companies, online payment platforms, websites and social media to use DRI Pro as the means to prove the user’s digital identity. The plan for DRI Pro is to become an officially recognised legal proof of ID.

“In the digitised economy, individuals and organisations will be recognised by their digital identities. But most importantly, we need to be able to trust the systems that store digital IDs. Blockchain is the right technology for this end: It is decentralised, effective and minimises the need for trust”. says Stefania Barbaglio, from Right of Reply.