The UK Is Slowly Rolling Out a Digital ID System

The UK is heading towards a national digital ID system. After more than two years of relative silence, the Government Digital Service (GDS) is shedding light on the GOV.UK One Login program, an ambitious digital identity service. Tom Read, GDS Chief Executive, and Natalie Jones, Director for Digital Identity, recently articulated the vision and the current state of the program, describing it as a transformative shift aimed at easing the public’s interaction with government services.

Centralized digital ID systems, while promising efficiency and seamless identity verification, pose significant privacy and civil liberties concerns. A centralized system aggregates all individuals’ personal data in a single repository, creating a high-value target for hackers and increasing the risks of data breaches. These systems may also allow for excessive surveillance and tracking of individuals, posing a threat to personal privacy and freedom.

The One Login system enables individuals to authenticate their identities for various central government services through a web channel or an app. The process is expedited by utilizing passports, driving licenses, biometric residence permits, and knowledge-based verification. Moreover, the app enables users to verify their identities by matching a selfie with their passport photo.

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