The non-profit organisation Open Identity Exchange (OIX) has released its latest paper outlining the critical role that a digital vouching process could play in helping to address the problem of access to basic and essential public and private sector services.
Digital vouching is a process that involves a person who is already trusted legally, vouching for another individual they have known for some time, but who is struggling to prove who they are.
When the World Bank estimated that 1.1 billion people globally lacked formal identification and therefore were excluded from basic services, digital ID was widely recognised as the key to addressing this issue.
However, as digital ID ecosystems have grown and trust frameworks are being established around the world to govern and enable the safe and fair use of digital ID, it has become clear that they are failing those individuals who still cannot prove who they are. The OIX has revealed that in the UK alone, 11 per cent of adults are still struggling to enrol for a digital ID
These individuals are struggling to pass the enrolment process to obtain a digital ID where:
- where there is no comprehensive central government record for all citizens
- where the enrolment process for digital ID is through digitisation of pseudo ID documents, such as passports or driving licences – not everyone has these
- where evidence of an individual’s existence in databases, such as credit databases, is relied upon as part of the proofing process – where the possession of a bank account is a key factor in ID enrolment.
By enabling these ‘ID challenged’ individuals to use the digital vouch as a ‘root of trust’ credential throughout the enrolment process, they can then create their own assured digital ID. According to the OIX, a digital vouch could play a crucial role in enabling verification in the many circumstances where individuals still cannot readily prove who they are.
The OIX believes that a digital vouch will enable more inclusive digital ID ecosystems and is urging governments and trust framework providers to implement it as a key source of evidence for the whole enrolment process.
Nick Mothershaw, Chief Identity Strategist at OIX, said: “Almost everything, including appointments, transactions and operations, is now taking place online. Solving the identity problem has to be a priority for everyone otherwise large sections of society will continue to be excluded.
“Our message is clear: we will not achieve an inclusive digital ID ecosystem if digital vouching is not implemented by governments and trust frameworks.”