Background & Use Cases …

Just Imagine ...
The vast amount of Personal Data that is currently obtained processed, stored, managed, retained and eventually deleted under our existing centralised model in which personal data is inextricably linked to the application that uses it.
Just Imagine ...
The service improvements, the improved efficiencies, the reduction in fraud potential, the enhanced customer relationships, the cost savings, design improvements and reduction in compliance overhead that could be achieved by the widespread introduction of decentralised identities and the personal management of personal data.

In February 2019 TechUK issued a white paper entitled ‘The Case for Digital IDs‘, which made a number of recommendations to the UK Government, the most important of which being:

the UK Government to facilitate the creation of a fully functioning digital identity ecosystem, which operates across public and private sectors

The white paper includes a list of potential Use Cases for Digital Identities and several of these are described in this post.

Recognising the importance of the subject in July 2019 the Department for Culture Media & Sport issued a Digital Identity: A Call for Evidence, confirming that

We are committed to enabling a digital identity system fit for the UK’s growing digital economy without the need for identity cards by working in partnership across government, the private and voluntary sectors, academia, and civil society.Quote

Potential Use Cases

Digital birth certificates
How about issuing new born babies with a Digital Identity as their very first verifiable credential; one that they could use throughout their life. Issuing at birth would be a great first step in safeguarding youngsters online but issuing to school age children would be a game-changer in restricting access to harmful content.
DBS or criminal record checks
Non-standardised application process across the UK introduces inefficiency,is poor for labour mobility and requires the processing of a considerable amount of personal data in multiple centres.
ID checks at bars, nightclubs & public places
Controlled access to identity verification data via a mobile device limits the exposure of personal data to that which is appropriate to meet the check being carried out e.g. club doorman verifying an individual as being 18+ or a police officer requiring a date of birth and current address.
Right to rent checks
A landlord or letting agent is legally obliged to see original acceptable docs, review prospective tenants face-to-face and make copies of documentation. This is expensive and inefficient for all parties, and carries significant data protection risks. From a consumer standpoint it would be preferable to be able to transfer reference checks to different landlords and letting agents.
Age verification for access to age restricted online content
Support certification against PAS1296:2018 for online age checking presents a model for age verification for age-verified goods and services.
Voter registration, polling and e-voting
Digital identity and one-to-one facial recognition software can be used as a means of citizen verification for voter registration, identification at polling stations, remote e-voting and polling.
Qualification screening checks
Verify that a huge range of regulated professionals, such as doctors, dentists, accountants, security consultants, architects etc have the qualifications and specialisms that they purport to have.
Licensing checks
To work in the UK private security industry an individual must be licensed by the Security Industry Authority, a lengthy process that requires the sharing of copious amounts of personal data.
Proof of address for utility bills and banking
By providing a customer with an attribute stating that they have been a customer for a certain period of time a bank or utility company could dispense with existing slow, inconvenient and potentially fraudulent manual processes.