In almost every conceivable market, there is an authority or oversight organisation that is responsible for ensuring order and fairness across the market participants. The need is driven by factors such as building confidence and trust in the marketplace, protecting participants and, in many cases, ensuring technical interoperability. The emerging digital identity market in the UK has exactly these needs. An oversight organisation is essential.
In this paper, we explore how an oversight organisation might look. We invited a Peer Review Group, comprising regulators and trade associations, to discuss a series of questions framing the role of such an organisation, its responsibilities, the functions and services that should be provided, as well as its structure, governance, resourcing, costs and funding.
Digital identity ecosystems exist or are being planned in most countries around the world. In many instances, these are being introduced as an extension to national identity cards and databases. However, in countries where no such national identity scheme exists, introducing a digital identity ecosystem has fundamental challenges to overcome: that of acceptability, scalability and viability. The UK is one such country, as is Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the USA and others. As each country addresses its own challenges, many of which are common, we need to consider these in a wider context – that of portability and interoperability across national borders. The shared vision for digital identity is that it is, just like the Internet, not restricted by borders. A person with a digital identity issued by a scheme in one country should be able to use it with organisations in another country, be that to visit, reside or transact.
In this paper, we also discuss with organisations responsible for digital identity in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the European Union, the need for a global interoperable model and the type of organisation that would be needed to oversee it.
Ewan Willars & Rob Laurence