Nov 2, 2022 in Papers & Projects by DIACC

Universal Digital Identity Policy Principles to Maximize Benefits for People: a shared European and Canadian Perspective

New study highlights policy design principles to maximize benefits of digital identity

(TORONTO) – November 2, 2022 – The Digital ID & Authentication Council of Canada (DIACC) and the Human Technology Foundation (HTF) today released a report titled Universal Digital Identity Policy Principles to Maximize Benefits for People: a shared European and Canadian Perspective. This report highlights the latest research, analysis and lessons learned about the ongoing development of digital identity strategies. The report further offers a set of policy design principles to help guide the optimal development and implementation of digital identification policies by governments, institutions and private sector entities.  

“This paper has been written with human considerations at the center, to inform policy makers and influencers from the public and private sectors, as well as the general public that may have interest in policy design,” said Joni Brennan, President of the Digital ID & Authentication Council of Canada. “We hope governments and private sector entities will use the report as a tool to define policy design principles that support a common duty of care for organizations that implement digital identification systems and help enable them to consistently apply that duty of care.”

The report is a joint project of DIACC, a Canadian non-profit coalition of over 100 private and public sector organizations, and HTF, a network of several thousand members that operates in Paris, Montreal and Geneva. It offers 3 core policy design recommendations for decision makers, which are then declined into concrete measures:

  • Digital identity policy must be people centered. Digital identity policy needs to be designed above all on a user-centric basis that prioritizes citizens’ needs and rights and puts individuals at the center of the process. People-centered means inclusive, voluntary, resilient, and intuitive for both institutions and people. 
  • Digital identity policy must foster empowerment. Digital identity that empowers companies, customers, clients, and citizens builds confidence in relationships, expands usage, and can promote public participation in community, government and political processes. It must be user-controlled, based on informed consent, and allow for data portability. 
  • Digital identity policy must encourage trust through governance. People gain confidence in services when the functioning and governance of the service is transparent and understandable. Digital identity policy must be transparent, accountable, secure, and future-proofed. 

Keys to a socially accepted digital identity

This report focuses on the perception and the impact of a digital identity on different groups within society. It lists the characteristics to maximize the benefits of a digital identity for citizens and companies. One core measure includes reducing the amount of information disclosed, and protecting, when possible, the anonymity of the user.  

“Digital identity is a solution to societal issues. For instance, an effective protection of minors requires their identification and the supervision of their access to online services and content. This cannot be done at the expense of the strict respect for privacy. Thanks to the principle of data minimisation, digital identity meets this challenge” said Eric Salobir, President of the Human Technology Foundation.

A public-private cooperation 

The report reflects the belief that governments and private sector entities must deeply engage in fast-reacting and smart policy-making on digital identity. It also addresses the issue of including the private sector in the processes,  and the elements of governance that can build public trust. It highlights the need for extensive public engagement to inform on the digital transformation and promote inclusive and fair solutions that underpin trust in digital ecosystems as the digital economy continually develops and expands. 

“The risks of not moving ahead with the policy design needed to support transformation will include the loss of the strategic autonomy of the nation, worsening cyber security attacks, and failure to realize substantial economic growth potential,” said Eric Salobir, Human Technology Foundation President.

DIACC and HTF hope decision-makers in national and sub-national governments, along with private sector entities, will use the information herein as a tool to work urgently with all stakeholders to establish inclusive, privacy-protecting, and trustworthy digital identity related policies that empower individuals, businesses, the public sector, and civil society. 

About the Digital ID & Authentication Coalition of Canada (DIACC)

DIACC is a Canadian non-profit coalition of 100+ private and public sector organizations who are passionate about building a strong, trusted and interoperable identity ecosystem in Canada. Originating from Finance Canada’s task force recommendations on moving Canada into the digital age, DIACC delivered their first mandate to develop a digital identity and authentication framework — now known as the Pan-Canadian Trust Framework (PCTF). Today, DIACC continues to serve Canadians by driving the adoption of the PCTF that defines a duty of care that citizens, clients and customers should expect while using modernized digital services. This defined duty of care puts people’s benefits at the center while enabling adopters to verify their practice.

About the Human Technology Foundation (HTF)

Created in 2012, HTF is a network of several thousand members that operates in Paris, Montreal, Rome, Brussels and Geneva with the intention of placing the human being at the heart of technology development and putting technology back at the centre of social debates. HTF’s mission is to coordinate international multidisciplinary research projects and serve as an interface between academia, society, and the economy. For HTF members, technology must be part of the solution for building a society that is more respectful of everyone.

Download the paper here.