A Guide To Digital Identities and DBS Checks
In early 2021, the UK government announced its plans for digital identities and indicated new guidance that will be used to form new laws around their potential uses.
In this guide, we’ll look at what is meant by digital identities, what guidance is being proposed by the government, and how it will affect the general population, particularly with regard to DBS checks.
What are digital identities?
Digital identities are the natural consequence of the digital age that we live in. Virtually everything can be done online digitally these days, from registering with a dentist or doing your weekly grocery shop, to renewing your driving licence or signing a protest against a new law.
The list of things we can now do digitally is endless.
So, it makes perfect sense that the government and other organisations need to find some way of identifying people digitally and verifying that they are who they are. Trust is important for any society to function properly and proper identity checks are part of building trust.
A digital identity will help people to prove who they are when undertaking transactions and interacting with officials, both online and offline.
What this means is that instead of showing your driving license or passport, pretty soon you’ll be able to prove your identity using your digital identity. You’ll be able to use this when opening a bank account, setting up a mortgage, or applying for a job. You’ll also be able to use it when applying for a DBS check, which we’ll discuss in more detail shortly.
What about data privacy?
The government and digital security experts believe that digital identities will actually make it easier for individuals to control their own personal data. Using your digital identity profile, you’ll be able to choose who sees your data and prevent it from being seen by people or organisations according to your preference.
The government trust framework
The UK government has started to build a plan around the UK Digital Identity and Attributes Trust Framework. This is a group of standards and guidelines that all organisations and authorities sign up to and agree to adhere to. In other words, any organisation that has signed up to the trust framework has pledged to safeguard and protect the privacy of each individual’s personal data.
The trust framework has a list of best practices to follow when verifying people’s identity, such as:
- Ensure privacy and the protection of data
- Make products and services inclusive
- Ensure cybersecurity systems are in place
- Manage fraud effectively.
To indicate that organisations are a member of the trust framework the government has proposed a “trust mark” could be displayed on the company’s website.
An example of how digital identity checks may work
Let’s say that in a few years’ time, you want to open up a new bank account.
Instead of going into the bank or going online and submitting your ID document or scan of it, alongside an application form, in the future you’ll be able to simply fill in the application form and use your digital identity.
You will be able to check that the bank is reputable and secure by looking for the trust mark. If it’s present then you’ll be able to go ahead and trust them, providing your digital ID. The bank will know that they can trust the digital ID as it has been processed by a trusted source which has also been verified against the UK government’s trust framework.
What does this mean for DBS checks?
At the moment, the only way to get your identity officially verified for a DBS check is to submit actual copies of your identification cards or documents. The employer or registered body that is submitting the check on your behalf will check the ID and send off your application to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).
Once digital identities have become an accepted way to process official applications, then you’ll be able to do the whole thing online, possibly for any level of check – Basic, Standard, or Enhanced.
As digital identities are a relatively new concept and the government has only just started drawing up rules and legislation, we won’t know exactly what’s happening until they announce it, but it should be good news for people that need DBS checks as it speeds up the process considerably.
To find out more about ID verification and/or DBS checks, then get in touch today.