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Tech-enabled UK vs Spring Budget: what helps more?

 7th Mar 2024


Tech can Save UK Productivity


Whilst UK politicians’ squabble and tinker, in a span of mere weeks, groundbreaking advancements are revolutionizing our world!


OpenAI's latest release, Sora, is a game-changer, allowing the generation of photo-realistic videos solely from text inputs, turning months into minutes. These creations are so lifelike that they're often indistinguishable from reality without close examination.

Sora AI Video - Image of Woman walking in Tokyo nightlife

This innovation ignites boundless imagination and creativity, promising transformative applications beyond entertainment, especially in enhancing areas such as customer service or social care for the housebound and isolated (when combined with associated technologies).

However, amid this excitement, there's a critical need for vigilance. Experts warn of potential fraud and manipulation, as the ability to fabricate individuals and events with such precision poses threats not only to specific interactions such as financial transactions but also to the balance of societal governance and integrity. It's imperative to discern the authenticity of both digital content and individuals as effortlessly as we do in the physical world. How can we be sure 'who we are dealing with' online?

Navigating the Digital Maze: Unraveling Online Identities

Reputable providers of regulated documentary and identity solutions are tirelessly upgrading capabilities to stay ahead of fraudsters. Leveraging machine learning, image processing, process workflow and AI tools, they're delivering secure, seamless, and sustainable practices for all manner of identity-related tasks. With AI advancing rapidly, soon surpassing the smartest human intelligence four-fold within three years, we're poised to tackle even the most complex challenges.

Last week, the European Parliament took another step toward a new era of digital identity, including endorsing a cutting-edge digital identity wallet for European citizens. Features include a framework for seamless cross-border digital access to public services, free qualified electronic signatures, open source wallet and privacy dashboard empowering users to fully control their own data including data deletion requests. The benefits of a digital identity wallet include allowing citizens to identify and authenticate themselves online without relying solely on commercial providers, whilst also addressing concerns related to trust security and privacy.

At this week’s Open Identity Exchange (OIX) members meeting, progress toward global interoperability of digital identities was highlighted, together with further work requirements. OIX's "DNA of Digital Identity" provides a robust foundation, identifying commonalities and differences among diverse digital ID trust frameworks worldwide. Detailed analysis found that they shared 15 common general policy areas with 75 different characteristics – and a common approach to assessing identity assurance.

Helpfully, an Open Criteria Exchange Tool (OCET) is available to allows the communication of value settings for the policy characteristics and specific requirements for identity assurance, so that interoperability assessment and agreement between frameworks (and other parties) can take place both for ‘static’ decision processes exploring policy alignment and in ‘dynamic’ decision processes where interoperability decisions are made ‘on the fly’. OCET enables ‘roaming’ digital ID wallets, smart enough to operate in multiple trust frameworks through assessment of their compliance with the policy criteria of the destination framework(s) they have roamed into. So a user could seamlessly travel, hire a car, or use government services as easily as at home using their wallet, in say a temporary work posting in Singapore from London.

The closely aligned Open ID Foundation (OIDF) focuses on technologies for eKYC, Identity Assurance, Authorisation and Digital Credentials, in addition to shared signals co-operation on unusual activities and testing tools (e.g. for banks to meet their regulatory testing obligations). OIDF tools are also widely used currently by tech platforms such as Apple, Facebook, Google, etc.
To enable collaboration without ‘one framework to rule all’, a significant new initiative is SIDI HUB, a Sustainable and Interoperable Digital Identity Community of collaboration, aimed at promoting identity standards and adoption across Governments, Standards Bodies, Non-Profits, Multilaterals (UN, World Bank) and more. 


What should Government do differently?

While these organizations shape our future, regulatory oversight and user education are paramount. Governments must prepare citizens for a digitally enabled world to prevent societal disparities. Initiatives like Singapore's SkillsFuture Level-UP Programme, subsidized digital education for 40+ years old citizens, exemplify the proactive approach needed from Governments to empower citizens through lifelong digital education and skills development.

It's time for governments worldwide especially the UK, with the lowest productivity amongst our developed peers, to foster innovation, embrace change, and prioritize citizen protection and reskilling. Tech-enabled innovation increases productivity and profits, which pays for more and better tech-supported public services. UK tax and industrial policy needs to do a lot more than grasp for short-term headlines. It needs a sector-by-sector Adoption Plan as part of a cohesive Industrial Strategy to boost UK output. Together, we can ensure a prosperous future for all in the digital age – but only if we all wake up to the speed of change that will be adopted by others if not us.

Further Information: A Guide to Trust Frameworks for Smart Digital Identity
Image: Created with first use of Bing AI-tools on MS Edge from just 2 text prompts!  
Author: Chris Jones















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