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Federated Identity for Access to UK Public Services: 1997-2020

The history of federated identity in the UK since the 1990s

This report traces the history and looks to the future of identity verification to access vital services in the UK. It examines the role of the private sector, the importance of privacy, and the problem of proving identity.

“While the focus is often on trying to establish core legal or foundational ‘identity’, a more frequent need may be to validate proof of attributes or circumstances — that someone is a ‘welfare claimant’ or ‘retired’ for example in order to determine their potential entitlement to a service.”

The report states that the future of identity will involve the individual being in control of their identity, and identity across sectors, services, and countries being interoperable.

By doing so, the UK Government could finally achieve its original 1990s vision: trusted federated identity and attribute services that work across both public and private sectors, and which place the citizen rather than government at the centre

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