Imagine accessing all government services the way you log into your bank account. Unique digital citizen identities enable dramatic leaps in service quality and significant economic gains for governments. Furthermore, digital identities drive financial and social inclusion by providing citizens with seamless access to healthcare, education, and other government benefit programs. The true value of citizen identities is delivering legitimate access to public services conveniently, effectively and securely.

People-focused governance and further digitization are top priorities for jurisdictions around the pandemic impacted world. COVID-19 demonstrated the need for secure digital identities so citizens can conveniently apply and receive government services online without the need for in-person ID checks. One forward looking jurisdiction, the government of Ontario (Canada), is working on a provincial Digital Identity Project to securely set up mobile-based identities for its citizens by the end of 2021.

Governments across the world have long relied on multiple standalone solutions to deliver services across different departments and levels of government. As a result, authentication mechanisms are fragmented, ranging from smartcards to passwords to biometrics. The game changer in recent times has been cloud-based services. Now, not only can delivery of different services be consolidated under one platform, but similarly multiple identity credentials of a person can be tied to one unique digital citizen identity. Basic citizen information is then entered only once and is shared across agencies for securely accessing all government services.

Did you know that Estonia’s national ID card is the most advanced digital citizen identity solution in the world? It provides access to all e-services, works as a legal travel ID across Europe and even facilitates digital signatures for secure transactions. Also, EU OOP (Once-Only Principle) is an intracontinental identity project which will allow citizens and businesses across Europe to use their respective national electronic IDs to seamlessly access public services in all parts of the European Union. OOP is scheduled for a 2023 launch.

Digital identities offer potential benefits like lowered administrative costs, adherence to geographic regulations and accelerated citizen-first digital transformation initiatives. But there are certain challenges as well, like who will own the data, as well as how the data will be protected and shared securely. If security providers can mitigate the risk of cyber-attacks and ensure data privacy, digital identity programs can become the biggest beneficiary of this technology led world.

A good example of citizen identities is Digital Travel Credentials (DTC) which can be used for verifying traveler identity when commuting between cities, states and countries. The credential aims to facilitate government border clearance processes by empowering citizens to navigate through the security checkpoints at airports without any human intervention, unless necessary. With a high assurance identity credential compliant with ICAO standards (on mobile), DTC not only elevates the travelers experience but also improves passenger flows during security checks. To know more about citizen identities and DTC, join our webinar: How to Strengthen the delivery of citizen identity solutions.

Entrust Identity, with its broad range of solutions, securely provisions different types of citizen identities like DTC and other national IDs to benefit citizens around the globe. To know more, check out our Digital Citizen Security webpage.