The new year has kicked off with a flurry of government activity in the advancement of digital identity technology around the world.
Turkey has delivered one of the most intriguing examples. At the Digital Turkey 2023 event, Vice President Fuat Oktay told attendees that his country is planning to use blockchain technology to underpin a digital ID system that will enable secure access to online government services.
The system is being pursued with the aim of applying it to the country’s existing “e-Devlet” public services portal. And it follows previous examples of blockchain innovation in the country, including the launch of a “National Blockchain Infrastructure” regulatory sandbox in 2019 and plans for a “City Coin” urban cryptocurrency project in 2020, though the latter has not yet materialized.
At the Digital Turkey event, Vice President Oktay enthused that “[w]ith the login system that will work within the scope of the e-wallet application, our citizens will be able to enter the e-Devlet with a digital identity created in the blockchain network.”
Meanwhile, the government of Thailand is about to start rolling out a digital ID system with mobile functionality. It will initially be used to enable access to government services under the Internal Affairs Ministry, and will eventually expand for use across a range of government agencies as well as private sector entities such as banks.
Individuals will be required to register their ID cards at a local government office in order to access the D.Dopa mobile ID app, which uses QR codes for two-factor authentication. The initial launch is scheduled for January 10.
And in Canada, it looks like a new provincial project is just about to get underway. The Digital Government Minister for the province of Newfoundland and Labrador says that authorities are mapping out plans for a potential digital ID that could be used in lieu of physical documents when, for example, providing proof of age at a liquor store. The Minister, Sarah Stoodley, told CBC News that meetings with federal government counterparts are scheduled for later this month, and that her department is currently trying to secure funding for a digital ID pilot.
The developments point to the range of government-led digital ID activities that are being undertaken and the wide-ranging vastness of the overarching digital ID trend. And they suggest that after a great deal of buzz last year, digital ID will be even more exciting in 2023.