Identity Verification in the Government Sector

Positive ID Verification in government is everything. Government security, indeed, is a matter of national security, and the room for error is zero. Accurate identity verification is fundamental to the proper functioning of law enforcement, immigration systems, and the prevention of terrorism. In addition, identity theft and fraud pose significant and ongoing challenges to government departments at all levels – and yet it remains essential for government bodies and local authorities to provide citizens with easy yet secure access to services and resources.

Beyond security, government bodies also face enormous challenges in processing applications. Be they for benefits, pensions, passports, driving licences, voter registration, criminal record checks, bus passes, parking permits – whatever it may be – the procedures and bureaucracy involved in processing and verifying each application are time-consuming, require manual input, and are prone to human error.


Are You Behind the Curve?

Traditional methods of identity verification – such as passwords, PINs, and manually checking ID documents such as driving licences or passports – are fast becoming outdated. Today, the demand to address identity fraud, ensure privacy, and quickly and seamlessly grant access to services is giving rise to biometric ID verification solutions.

Biometric technologies identify individuals based on their distinguishing biological traits, such as fingerprints, face or voice. Unlike passwords or traditional identity documents, these biometric attributes are inherently linked to an individual, and cannot usually be lost, stolen, or forgotten, providing greater convenience and security.

However, while adoption of biometric ID verification technologies has taken off in the private sector (90% of businesses will use biometric authentication technology by 2020, according to a Spiceworks study last year), government departments are behind the curve.

Currently, when citizens attempt to access government services, traditional forms of identification are used. Often, simply entering reference numbers on an online form is all that’s required, or users may be asked to scan and upload a document for human verification. Simply put, these traditional methods of ID verification in government are no longer suitable for the digital world in which we now live – particularly as pressure mounts on government agencies to make more and more services available through online self-service portals.

In October last year, the UK Government announced that it was to end investment in its GOV.UK Verify digital identity system. The move came after the Cabinet Office’s major projects watchdog – the Infrastructure and Projects Authority – recommended in July that Verify should be terminated as there were numerous problems with the service. In 2016, the government announced a target of 25 million Verify users by 2020. However, at time of writing, only 3.6 million have signed up. This is in part due to the complexity involved with enrolling on the service. Last year, the Government Digital Service (GDS), which developed Verify, revealed research showing that barely one third of Universal Credit claimants were able to use the service to apply for benefits.

In response, the UK tech sector has urged the government to publish policy to support the creation of a fully functioning digital identity market. In a report released in February 2019, techUK, the IT industry trade body, also pushed for clarity on the future of the troubled Verify system, which will soon transition to a private sector-led model.

“To ensure the UK does not fall behind other countries, we must create an interoperable framework for digital IDs which spans the public and private sectors,” said Julian David, CEO of techUK.

Citing the growth in fraud, identity theft, and the hindering of online innovation as the cost of further delay, the report says that “a coherent strategy is urgently required.”

“The plea from many in the tech industry is that the issue of identity needs to be joined up to tackle the need to manage multiple digital identities and consumer expectations on ease of access to all types of online service,” said the report.

Lost ID documents prohibiting access to online government services was one key issue highlighted by techUK. Currently, UK citizens need to carry around physical documents which are easily lost. The report cites figures from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) revealing that almost a million driving licenses were lost by British drivers in the last year. On top of the high cost of replacements, it is also of huge concern that large volumes of these ID documents could be falling into the wrong hands. TechUK estimates that if the current status quo of inaction in terms of digital ID verification in government persists, a 50% increase in cases of identity fraud could manifest by 2021.

(Image source: The Case for Digital IDs, techUK)


TOC Biometrics for Government

The need for government agencies to adopt more robust, reliable and convenient identity verification solutions is clear. Driving licences, passports, passwords and reference numbers are far too easily lost, forgotten, compromised or stolen. As such, they are no longer adequate as a single means of ID verification, be it for application processing, security, law enforcement, or border control.

TOC Biometrics has developed the world’s most advanced suite of biometric authentication solutions for accurate and reliable ID verification in government. All government agencies at local, regional and national level need to be entirely certain of citizen identities. TOC Biometrics cloud-based biometrics solutions provide the absolute assurance that people are who they claim to be.

Our trusted Biometric Facial Recognition, Digital Signature, ID Document Checking, and Liveness Detection solutions go way beyond basic identity matching to verify online and mobile citizens, and remotely authenticate users attempting to access services and resources. Based on cutting-edge neural network and deep learning technology, TOC Biometrics powerful biometric authentication service captures citizens’ biometric data in order to create unique digital templates for genuine citizens, which are then stored securely in the cloud as a mathematical construct. Unlike other digital ID verification systems, this enables government agencies to accurately authenticate that it is the correct person – and not just the correct device – requesting access to online and mobile services.

TOC Biometrics offers the most advanced and accurate biometric authentication system available to government agencies today. With over eight years’ experience, more than 48 million identity verification and digital signature transactions per year, and an accuracy rate above 99%, TOC Biometrics is a leading provider of biometric authentication solutions for the government sector. Explore our Facial ID Verification and Digital Signature products, and get in touch today.