The Open Identity Exchange (OIX), a nonprofit trade group focused on digital ID, has formally opposed the idea of government-managed digital ID systems.
The OIX took its stance in response to a policy paper from the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, which recommended that the UK establish an official virtual ID wallet that could store passports, driver’s licenses, and other documents on a user’s smartphone.
While the government’s Cabinet Office was once a member of OIX, and the latter has worked on a digital identity verification system for local governments, the OIX is now formally in favor of a decentralized digital identity model, rather than a centralized system run the a government entity; though the government could play a role in identity verification.
“In our view, government should focus on issuing user managed ID proofs into certified private sector smart digital IDs, or wallets,” explained OIX Chief Executive Nick Mothershaw. “This will allow the private sector to provide users innovative smart digital ID services that blend trusted ID proofs from government, with public and private sector credentials.”
Indeed, the UK government has already begun facilitating the development of a private sector digital ID ecosystem under new regulatory frameworks. Biometric identity verification specialists like HooYu and Onfido have been certified by the government as Digital Identity Service Providers under the recently introduced Digital Identity Certification Scheme (DICS), while organizations like Yoti and Konfir have been given the OK to provide official employee background check services under the igital Identity and Attributes Trust Framework (DIATF).
As for the digital ID proposal from former Prime Minister Tony Blair’s think tank, while it sounds very similar to the ambitious digital ID wallet being developed in the neighboring European Union, the current Prime Minister’s office has stated through a spokesperson that there “are no plans to introduce digital ID” at this time.