Digital Identity Working Group Lays Out Principles for Interoperable Digital Identity Systems

The Digital Identity Working Group (DIWG), made up of digital identity specialists from eight Digital Government Exchange (DGX) member states across the world, has identified 11 core principles to support international collaboration on the development of mutually recognised and interoperable digital identity systems and infrastructure.

The DIWG lays out principles covering openness and transparency, reusability, user-centricity, inclusion, accessibility and multilingualism, security and privacy, technology neutrality and data portability, administrative simplicity, preservation of information, effectiveness and efficiency in its Digital Identity in Response to Covid-19 report.

The 22-page report identifies these principles based on a comparative survey of existing policy, legal and technological frameworks across the current digital ID landscape and of specific digital ID solutions and use cases drawn from the eight countries participating in the DIWG: Australia, Canada, Finland, Israel, New Zealand, Singapore, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.


“Most countries are currently taking a risk-based and phased approach to mutual recognition and interoperability,” the DIWG says.

“These principles could help to accelerate interoperability and realise potential benefits, including opening international borders for trade and travel in recovery from Covid-19.

“Close attention needs to be considered for data management and the protection of personal information by considering existing internationally recognised principles or guidelines, including to consider privacy, transparency, fairness and person-centred values.

“Other policy and legal frameworks will need to align between countries to enable sustainable interoperability of trust frameworks and digital identity systems, including global digital identity standards, identity assurance levels and liability frameworks.

“Interoperability also needs to consider the role of the private sector in digital identity systems, including a common understanding of the underlying business models and frameworks for liability between countries and the public and private sector.”

“The working group aims to develop pathways to enable mutually recognised and/or interoperable digital identities and infrastructure, to enhance trade opportunities in the context of a Free Trade Agreement or similar bi- or multilateral agreement,” the DIWG says.

“It also recognises that similar pathways may be part of solutions to facilitate economic recovery from Covid-19, for example, to support the opening of domestic and international borders.”