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New Identity Assurance market emerges

Posted on: Tuesday 13th of November 2012

Today the Government’s vision for a more citizen centric identity assurance service becomes a reality. The Department for Work and Pensions has announced the first private sector identity providers that will start offering an identity assurance service for the 20 million DWP customers. The businesses are: The Post Office, Cassidian, Digidentity, Experian, Ingeus, Mydex, and Verizon.

One of the most interesting choices is Mydex, one of the Personal Data Store providers covered in our recent PDS market review.  The inclusion of a mould-breaking service such as this is a sign of the times. The Government isn’t only encouraging competition between different providers, it’s also encouraging competition between different philosophies relating to the management of personal data, and different business models.

We plan to publish some interviews with the successful companies, and those closely involved in the market, very soon. It will  be interesting to understand the different perspectives about how and how fast the market will develop.

The announcement is is one of the first practical Governmental steps towards user centric identity management – the idea of providing individuals with verified identities that they can present to the people they deal with online and offline, rather than having to jump through each different organisation’s processes for establishing users’ identities.

As the ecosystem develops individuals can choose from a growing range of competing private sector organisations who will confirm and authenticate their identity. Initially this will involve transactions with the public sector, with extension into business with the private sector thereafter as the IDA programme develops.

Our recent research of the IDA market estimates that it is was worth more than £280m in 2011 but will grow to be worth £360m in 2014. One of the key initial drivers of this growth will be the public sector, driven by their desire that the Government should be ‘digital by default’, the need to cut costs and improve customer experience.

A few months ago David Rennie, IDA Programme lead at the Cabinet Office, talked at a Ctrl-Shift event about the aims of the IDA programme. He commented that the word ‘identity’ has been used as the programme headline but that really it’s about establishing trust across digital channels through a set of clear principles including giving individuals control, ensuring data minimisation and more than one identifier for a person, a focus on decentralisation and collaboration. He said that if you turn the current traditional approach to identity management on its head – which is all about establishing a risk profile approach to assurance – there is a breakthrough ability to be able to combat increasingly sophisticated frauds, prevent a security arms race and the misuse of personal data.

The vision for the IDA programme is compelling and we believe the approach also has an innovation effect. If you build an ecosystem where people and organisations are confident about trusted data sharing, you kick start a new market of rich, Personal Information Management Services and you unlock the potential of personal data whilst ensuring the individual retains control and is an active participant in the consent and permission of its use.