Digital Architecture

IDgov.digital – Identity for Digital Government

New ebook under development

A new DigitalGovernment.io ebook is underway – “Identity for Digital Government”.

This will define and examine the keystone role Digital Identity plays in facilitating seamless online services, not just for Government but for all organizations and industries.

Digital Identity refers to the various usernames and log-on procedures we use to interact with web sites and other digital services. Michael Gorriz explains how Identity is a universal function, one that spans across government, banking and every other online service that we use.

For a review of Government Identity capabilities the examination will look across immediate, short and long term horizons:

Identity Programs and Best Practices Review

Government identity programs, such as Gov.UK Verify, seek to leverage this interconnectedness through linking their authentication systems with others like banks to streamline the procedure from a users perspective, an approach known as ‘federated identity’.

The types of challenges it has faced highlight the complexity and hurdles a successful scheme must overcome.

The Government has halted its funding and the Projects Authority recommended it’s termination; TechUK has recently called for clarification of future direction as a matter of urgency. Industry figures have called for alternative courses of action, such as following the Nordic model. Other national approaches includes Canada’s ‘DIACC‘.

Key best practice scenarios will include the role the technology has played in streamlining digital services for users. For example North Lanarkshire Council implemented the Civica ‘Multivue’ solution to achieved a ‘golden record’ of each citizen giving them the ability to access all the services they need through only one login.

Government as a Platform

If ultimately Verify fails to succeed it can be seen as the poor implementation of a good idea, not a fundamentally bad idea. In particular it’s role in enabling ‘Government as a Platform‘ is key.

The core ideal of this is one of architectural common sense – Reusing common components rather than continually reinventing the wheel, and so the medium term review will be to establish how this goal may ultimately be realized.

Identity is the keystone common service – Users don’t want to have to repeat the username registration and signon process for each and every service they use, they want a simplified, streamlined approach, and in the light of the Verify woes we’ll explore multiple options for how this end result may be best achieved.

The Identity Metasystem and PDS Architecture

The scope of the long term can principally be characterized through the evolution from centralized to decentralized approaches.

Currently Identity systems are built around a core premise that citizen data is held centrally by government agencies, and federated identity schemes implemented to achieved permissioned access to them.

In contrast the overall context of an emerging Decentralized Web 3.0 again Identity will be one of the keystone foundations for this new paradigm, with users taking control over their own data directory.

Key capabilities accelerating this trend include decentralized identity systems notably ‘Self Sovereign Identity’, exemplified through early cutting edge pioneers like British Columbia, and ‘Personal Data Stores’ – This Medium article by Irina Bolychevsky explores the emergent landscape of vendors offering apps and online services that enable users to store and control their own personal information.

Identity-Enabled Digital Services Architecture

Overall the goal is to define an architecture for Identity-Enabled Digital Services, explained through key use case scenarios such as Drivers Licence and Passport applications.

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Editor of the DigitalGovernment.io site.

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