Digital Identity Apps Revolutionising Government-issued Identities

POSTED BY Nick Maynard
The growing adoption of digital identity apps is changing the way citizens store their government-issued identities. In fact, civic identity apps are set to overtake the number of digital identity cards in use in 2023. This shift has definitely been aided by COVID-19, as the number of civic identity apps has grown unprecedently since the advent of the pandemic. 

The concept of digital identity and how it can be applied has been discussed for many years. These often philosophical discussions are beginning to crystallise into the 2020s. Digital identity is about much more than creating an online account. Data drives transactions and, more and more, we are seeing a requirement to add weight to justify the use of identifying data. Beyond registration for an identity account, verified data sees a place in post-registration or even non-registered (third-party) verifiable, assured, transactions. As we carry on into an unknown future, disrupted by the pandemic, this interwoven nature of identity-security-privacy will play a vital part in making sure our internet, workplace, government services, and banking are safe havens.

Digital identity is unique, in that it both needs security and privacy, and at the same time, when done well, enhances security and privacy. Thanks to the lockdowns introduced to contain COVID-19, companies all over the world have been forced to turn to home working to stay productive. This has created challenges for enterprise IT teams, particularly in the area of cybersecurity. Cybercriminals have taken advantage of vulnerabilities in highly complex networks where Shadow IT is common, which has been stretched further by working from home.

Providing robust and effective access control in an environment that is outside the direct control of the enterprise requires a change in approach, with many turning to identity federation. Federation of identity, or ‘identity reuse’ can provide a mechanism to reduce the burden of credential management and recall. However, federation in and of itself is not the answer to securing access. The whole system requires other components to verify and check access events. For example, verification of additional attributes may be required. 

Another trend is having governments leads digital identity adoption. The government has control over a number of identity documents, such as passports. Online government services are often the main touchpoint for consumers wishing to connect to local and national governments. These services can be crucial in delivering benefits and tax options. The level of assurance required to transact online with government services is a key requirement of these systems.

But these trends are being overtaken by the use of identity wallet. An ID in a user’s pocket is a compelling idea. The use of smartphones to carry out day-to-day life activities has proven highly successful. We use our smartphones for music, contacts, notes, emails, banking, messages, so why not identity? The market for mobile ID/identity wallets has evolved over recent years to bring a number of solutions to the market. The digitalisation of ID documents is growing at fast pace, especially with the introduction of new ID wallets which can be point solutions, such as a mobile driver licences, or which can aggregate various documents (digital identity, driver licence, health care credentials, etc) in a single app. It’s no wonder then that, while digital identity cards are still growing, apps are much easier to scale and better support increased involvement in digital commerce, which will be critical to digital identity’s future use. 

Our latest whitepaper, Why Digital Identity Is Critical to Post-pandemic Society, explores the disruptive effect of digital identity as well as analysing key trends and challenges.

Download the Whitepaper: Why Digital Identity Is Critical to Post-pandemic Society
Related Research: Digital Identity