A digital identity service for Scotland – the road ahead
Trudy Nicolson, Programme Director for the Scottish Government’s digital identity programme, updates us on progress and the opportunities ahead.
We’re at an exciting point in the digital identity programme’s journey. Since the update on our partnership with Disclosure Scotland, we have been working together to launch the first service early next year and looking ahead to wider adoption by other public services during 2023 and beyond.
You can hear more about our progress and future plans by joining our online event on 16 November (14:00-16:00). Registration for ‘A digital identity service for Scotland’ is now open – and everyone is welcome.
Ahead of the event, I’d like to give you an update on our programme.
The team has now launched a ‘production environment’ for the digital identity service, achieving a major milestone. Disclosure Scotland can now use this in their service and we’ll be continuously testing, improving and adding new features to it.
An update on ‘secure sign on’
The digital identity service will make accessing online public services easier and simpler, by enabling users to use one account to securely log in to a variety of services.
Users will create an account using an email address and password. Access is secured through two-factor authentication using codes sent via text messages.
Building on this early version, next year we are planning to add other ways to authenticate access to accounts such as using telephone landlines.
An update on ‘verify your identity’
Verify your identity is a feature of the digital identity service that can be used when a public service needs to confirm a user’s identity or other personal information.
Our first version does this using a photo facial match against someone’s passport, UK driving licence, or UK biometric residence cards.
We are working with Experian, over a two-year contract, to support this part of the service.
Experian’s identity verification services will be used to check for evidence that the user exists in the real world, identify potentially fraudulent activity, check the validity of the documents, and match a user against the photo in the official document.
We will be making the digital identity service as inclusive as possible and understand that some people may not have or want to use a driving licence or passport to verify their identity.
That is why we are working with Experian to also provide knowledge-based identity verification. This is where we ask users to answer questions about themselves, that only they would be able to answer, for instance, who their mobile phone contract is with.
In the coming year, we will look to add more ways for people to verify their identity, for example, through using other photo-based identity documents. We are also examining how we might open up the process more widely, such as knowledge-based verification by asking questions based on data already held within government; reuse of an identity check completed elsewhere; or the ability for a trusted person to verify someone’s identity through an offline route.
We will give people greater choice and control in the way they access public services with the aim of building a service that does not exclude people.
An update on the attribute store
We are working with Avoco to assess technology options for the attribute store, which will be a private and secure place where people can choose to save verified personal information. This will save users time and effort as they will be able to reuse the information that has already been verified when applying for other public services.
The first version of the store will give people the option to reuse their verified identity. We will then look at expanding the functionality to other types of verified information. Possible attributes could include evidence of being care experienced, qualifications achieved or the ability to act on behalf of another person.
Get in touch
Any Scottish public service providers looking to use the digital identity service – whether individual features like the secure sign on, or the whole service – are welcome to get in touch and we can work together on a timetable for exploration, adoption or migration.
If you have any questions or would like to speak to us, please get in contact by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org