The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has announced the launch of a public consultation on its draft recommendation on the Governance of Digital Identity. The document is intended to provide guidance to countries on how to develop and manage digital identity systems as digital public infrastructure.
The OECD notes that digital identity is a crucial aspect of online life, as it enables individuals to prove their identity and gain access to services such as healthcare, education, banking, travel, and e-commerce. In its draft, the organization emphasizes that digital transformation “offers opportunities” to enable identity verification both online and offline, adding that this can be done “through digital credentials and wallets, eID cards, and mobile ID applications.”
However, existing digital identity systems are often fragmented, incompatible, or inadequate for meeting user needs and safeguarding human rights, the organization says.
The draft recommendation puts forward a set of core principles that cover three key areas: the development of user-centred and inclusive digital identity systems, strengthening the governance of digital identity, and ensuring international cooperation and interoperability of digital identity systems.
The document also underscores the importance of respecting democratic values and human rights, such as privacy, data protection, non-discrimination, and consent, in the design and implementation of digital identity systems. It calls for the inclusion of vulnerable groups and minorities, as well as the promotion of a healthy market for identity solutions.
The public consultation is open until March 31, 2023, with the OECD welcoming feedback from all interested parties, including governments, civil society, academia, industry, and citizens. Comments can be submitted in English or French via email or directly on the OECD Engagement Platform.
The draft Recommendation was developed by the OECD’s Public Governance Committee and its Working Party of Senior Digital Government Officials (E-Leaders), with input from other relevant OECD committees and external experts. It builds on previous OECD work on digital government, privacy, artificial intelligence, blockchain, and consumer policy.
The final version of the recommendation is expected to be submitted to the OECD Council for adoption later this year. While not legally binding, it will be a legal instrument that expresses the common position and political commitment of OECD member countries and adherents on a specific policy area. Adherents are expected to implement the recommendation in their national policies and practices.