How Trust Frameworks Help Implement Digital ID Ecosystems
7 December 2020
In this two part series, Rebecca Leitch speaks to major global players using trust frameworks to build digital ID systems across public and private sectors
Fundamental to the success of any digital ID system is the ability to verify a credential, while respecting privacy - in other words being able to trust someone is who they say they are. And one of the most significant ways to achieve this is with a trust framework.
A trust framework enables standards within the authentication process, in order that these systems - and the service they offer - can be trusted, and ultimately, mass adopted.
Countries whose governments have forged ahead with such systems, namely Estonia, Canada, and Singapore, have been able to cope better in the COVID pandemic, and it’s clear that the demand for online public services has rapidly increased as a result, with more and more governments across the globe now turning to digital ID systems to try and make their services more efficient, cost effective, and their citizens’ lives easier.
Trust frameworks set the rules on what is accepted as a valid attribute. They are designed to focus on the needs of the end user first, rather than specific technologies, and are an inherent part of the governance process in order to show that sufficient customer due diligence, Know Your Customer (KYC), and anti-money laundering compliance has been undertaken.
Originally, one of the biggest incentives for trust frameworks was to help enable alliances. This began in the financial sector and allowed a person’s identity, verified with one financial institution, to be used to open a bank account with another institution within the same alliance, without having to be checked again.
Models of trust framework have now evolved beyond compliance and efficiency, and are being used to enable collaboration across the public and private sectors, in order to implement national, as well as global, digital ID ecosystems to respond to significant societal and economic challenges.
Human-centricity and the trust framework
Cristian Duda, Lead, Digital Identity at the World Economic Forum, explains how trust frameworks help build a foundation based on trust:
Interoperability and the trust framework
It is this interoperability that could be the answer to one of the biggest societal challenges in the USA - its healthcare system.
The CARIN Alliance is a multi-sector, public-private alliance focused on giving consumers digital access to their health information. One of the leaders of this alliance, Ryan Howells of Leavitt Partners, discusses the significant role its trust framework has played in developing a digital health ID system:
Its president, Joni Brennan, explains how the coalition’s Pan-Canadian Trust Framework (PCTF) is delivering a national, digital ID program centered on driving economic growth with a robust digital ID and authentication ecosystem
Adopted in July 2014, eIDAS made it possible that an eID issued in one Member State can be used to access online public services in another Member State. This was achieved by establishing an interoperability framework and by enforcing mutual legal recognition of the eID schemes notified by the Member States.
eIDAS established harmonized rules for the development of a European internal market for trust services recognized across borders with the same legal status as their traditional equivalent, paper-based processes.
In 2020, the European Commission ran an open consultation to evaluate the framework and assess the extent to which it is delivering its intended outcome, in view of technological, market, and legal developments.
This was followed by the European Council Conclusions of 1-2 October 2020 setting a clear mandate for the Commission by calling for:
The consultation revealed that European citizens expect trusted digital identification which protects data and can be used for authentication with a single sign-on, and the next step will be to work with the private sector in order to achieve cross-border recognition of eID across the EU.
The need to go further
While trust frameworks can clearly be seen as an essential enabler for national, as well as cross-border systems, Nick Mothershaw, Chair and Executive Director of Open Identity Exchange (OIX) cautions that when it comes to user-centricity in the commercial sector, trust frameworks still have work to do:
As all the above attests, trust frameworks are laying the foundations for successful - and trusted - digital ecosystems which promote interoperability and trusted usability.
But given trust frameworks rely on the existence of authoritative sources of identification, how can they help overcome one of the biggest challenges for Good ID - inclusion?
In part two, we look to the African continent, to see how trust frameworks are now emerging out of a will to not only improve economic development, but also enable inclusion.