OECD seeks feedback on digital identity recommendations

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has published a draft recommendation for the implementation and governance of national and cross-border digital identity systems and is inviting comment on the document from government officials, civil society organisations, international bodies and interested citizens and stakeholders.

The intergovernmental organisation’s draft recommendation lays out a set of proposed core principles covering three key areas: the development of user-centred and inclusive digital identity systems; strengthening the governance of digital ID; and enabling cross-border digital ID usage.

“Digital credentials and wallets, eID cards and mobile ID applications provided by either public or private entities have all contributed to the evolution of the digital identity landscape,” the OECD says.

“Despite these advancements, in many countries there remains often a lack of cross-sector collaboration, interoperability and poor-quality user experience. As more and more essential services are accessed online and across borders, improving the governance and implementation of digital identity systems in line with user needs becomes important.”

“The aim of the consultation is to ensure that the final text [of the recommendation] reflects the experience, needs and aspirations of the international community concerning the governance of digital identity.”

Key recommendations

The proposals in the draft document recommend that OECD members and non-members opting to adhere to its principles: 

Design and implement digital identity systems that respond to the needs of users and service providers;

Prioritise inclusion and minimise barriers to access to and the use of digital identity;

Take a strategic approach to digital identity and define roles and responsibilities across the digital identity ecosystem;

Protect privacy and prioritise security to ensure trust in digital identity systems;

Align their legal and regulatory frameworks and provide resources to enable interoperability;

Identify the evolving needs of users and service providers in different cross-border scenarios;

Co-operate internationally to establish the basis for trust in other countries’ digital identity systems and issued digital identities.

More specifically, the recommendation also identifies the need to develop digital identity solutions that are portable in terms of technology and location, unconstrained by the speed or quality of internet connection, and which enable users to control which credentials they share, when and with whom.

Next steps

Following the public consultation and input from relevant OECD bodies, the organisation’s Public Governance Committee will need to approve a final version of the recommendation before presenting it to the OECD Council for adoption.

Recommendations adopted by the OECD Council are “not legally binding but represent a political commitment to the principles they contain and an expectation that adherents will do their best to implement them”, the organisation says.

OECD seeks feedback on digital identity recommendations was written by Tom Phillips and published by NFCW.