Government confirms digital identity goals

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and the Cabinet Office are set to launch a Digital Identity Unit in the coming weeks.

Speaking at the Identity Week conference yesterday, the minister for implementation Oliver Dowden provided an update on GOV.UK Verify and set out the government’s next steps towards enabling the creation of a digital identity market.

He confirmed that there are now 20 government services connected to Verify and reiterated the government’s commitment to enabling the creation of a ubiquitous digital identity market.

To deliver on this, a consultation will be issued this month on how to deliver the effective organisation of the digital identity market. The government will work with industry - particularly with sectors who have frequent user identity interactions - to ensure interoperable ‘rules of the road’ for identity.

Meanwhile, the Digital Identity Unit will help bring the public and private sector together, ensuring the adoption of interoperable standards, specification and schemes, to deliver on the outcome of the consultation.

Dowden also explained that engagement has begun on the commercial framework for consuming digital identities from the private sector for the period from April 2020 to ensure the continued delivery of public services.

The Government Digital Service will continue to ensure alignment of commercial models that are adopted by the developing identity market to “build an ecosystem that delivers value for everyone”.

His speech follows on from an address to the CognitionX conference on Monday, where Dowden launched a new AI Guide for government, a new online marketplace for tech startups to sell to the public sector, and the Government Innovation Technology Strategy.

The Technology Innovation Strategy includes the unveiling of the new Spark procurement framework for the sector, while the AI guidance includes sections on considerations for using AI to meet user needs that includes the warning that the success of a project depends heavily on data quality, and that an organisation should assess the state of its data for factors such as accuracy, completeness, timeliness, sufficiency and consistency.

The guide also places a strong emphasis on ethics and safety, saying that an AI system should be implemented responsibly and without bias, that there should be mechanisms for the accountability of designers and implementers, and full compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation.

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