Julia Lopez – 2022 Statement on Digital Identity and Attributes

The statement made by Julia Lopez, the Minister for Media, Data and Digital Infrastructure, in the House of Commons on 10 March 2022.

I wish to inform the House that the Government have today published their response to the digital identity and attributes consultation.

In our increasingly digital world, and as technology devices become ever more integral to everyday life, being able to prove identities digitally is a tool which will give people more convenience, choice and security in how they access products and services. From making purchases, starting a new job, or moving house, it is important now more than ever that people and organisations can trust who they are dealing with as easily when transacting online as they do when dealing with others in the physical world.

Published in July 2021, the digital identity and attributes consultation sought views on three main proposals that could achieve a safe and secure digital identity system for the whole UK. Extensive engagement informed these proposals and the contents of the consultation response. We are determined to put the needs of individuals first with a strong focus on privacy, security and inclusion.

Based on the views received from respondents to the consultation, our response details the Government’s intent to legislate, when parliamentary time allows, to enable the development of a secure and trusted marketplace for digital identities and attributes across the UK economy.

First, the Government will seek to introduce legislation that will establish a digital identity and attributes governance function. This will help to build a trusted ecosystem in which digital identities and attributes can be used safely and securely across the economy. The governance function will have oversight of the UK digital identity and attributes trust framework and will be responsible for the issuance of a trust mark to organisations certified against it. This will give confidence to individual users of digital identities and attributes that they can trust certified organisations to offer safe and secure digital products because they have a trust mark to show they are adhering to the standards of the UK trust framework.

The Government will also seek to introduce legislation to enable public bodies to allow secure digital checks by trust-marked organisations against personal data they hold for the purposes of identity and eligibility verification. This will allow people and businesses to have confidence that digital identities in the UK can be built on trusted datasets in a way which upholds UK standards of privacy and data minimisation.

Finally, the Government will seek to introduce legislation which will establish that data held by public bodies which are then shared digitally through the legal gateway, are equivalent to the same data shared through traditionally accepted forms of identification, such as physical passports. This will provide all parties that rely on these data with the clarity and confidence that digital identities and attributes can be trusted.

Further details can be found in the consultation response, available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/digital-identity-and-attributes-consultation/outcome/government-response-to-the-digital-identity-and-attributes-consultation.

A copy of the consultation response will also be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.