The modern alternative to Government Gateway

GOV.UK Verify is the new way to prove who you are when you’re accessing secure government services online. It’s the latest innovation in the UK Government’s digital story that started at the end of the last century.

The origins of digital government and the rise of the Government Gateway

To really set the scene let’s remember what online looked like at the turn of the millennium.

The year is 2000. The world has just dodged the IT meltdown we all expected from the millennium bug and the average office worker is now using email at work almost every day. Digital pioneers dine out on stories that they have ordered books online from something called Amazon.com and a social network called FriendsReunited is about to launch and change the way we think about the internet forever. Facebook is yet to be invented.

It’s in this smartphone free, unconnected world that the UK Government introduces the world’s most ambitious digital change strategy of its time.

The vision was to have 100 per cent of government services online by 2005.

The vision

The Government wanted to create a centralised service for all e-Government services in the UK. This would allow citizens to access multiple public services online. No government in the world was doing more to meet the anticipated demand for digital.

The first version of Government Gateway’s registration and enrolment service was launched in 2001. The first fully operational service available allowed the UK’s first digital citizens to file tax returns online.

A model system

By 2007, with 11 million users, Government Gateway had established its place as a word-class example of digital government service delivery.  The Gateway was handling 20 million transactions across different departments every year and counting.

The positive sentiment continued. Copycat systems started to appear in other parts of the world such as the Czech Republic.

By 2012, Government Gateway had exceeding even its own expectations. It allowed UK citizens to access 166 services across a total of 55 government departments. The UK government had created a digital environment that supported a staggering 50 million users.

GOV.UK Verify launches

Now if you wish to access government services online the new way is to use GOV.UK Verify.

The Cabinet Office started work on the GOV.UK Verify system in 2011 (back then it was known as the Identity Assurance Programme, or IDAP).  Between 2011 and May 2016 the system went through a phase of  private, then public Betas to become the live public service we know today.

GOV.UK Verify is designed to deliver the simple secure online experience that today’s internet user expects. To use services at GOV.UK, UK citizens just need to set up an identity account with a certified identity provider like SecureIdentity. Unlike the old registration process used at Government Gateway, registering is completed online without the need to wait for any passwords or login details in the post.

You can see all the services available to GOV.UK Verify users here. More services are joining GOV.UK Verify all the time so if you’ve already registered for SecureIdentity and you’re finding it useful, expect to find it even more useful as new services are added.

Read more: why replace Government gateway?

 

It’s time to take your selfie seriously

Remember when selfies were just about silly faces and holiday views? Well, not anymore.

We’ve just added selfie check technology to the SecureIdentity registration process. It’s a new option that allows you to set up your SecureIdentity account even faster.

Here’s how it works

The selfie check technology uses the phone’s camera to scan your passport’s photo page. Just after that you’re asked to take a selfie. Your selfie is matched with the official passport photo by our state of the art selfie check technology.

Why are we introducing selfie checks?

The biometric technology we use to deliver the selfie check helps us keep the best security in the word accessible and convenient to use.

SecureIdentity is powered by Safran, the word leader in Government ID. Over the years and around the world, our business has been developing new technologies designed to help people do more secure things online simply.

Last year, when we created the SecureIdentity Simple Sign-in app, our goal was to make accessing government services more straightforward and more secure. In a world where we routinely use the internet to shop, check our bank details or book our holidays, the traditional ways to access government services seemed outdated and complex. The SecureIdentity Simple Sign-in app changed all of that.

Creating your SecureIdentity account takes just a few minutes. If you’re not the kind of person that wants to fast-track your registration with a selfie check, we’ll simply ask you a few more questions to complete the process in minutes. It’s swift, straightforward and secure.

Once you’re registered, you can use the Simple Sign-in app to access any Government service via GOV.UK Verify. Just enter your email and PIN into the app and you’re in.

To register for SecureIdentity using a secure selfie just:

  • Download the SecureIdentity app from the iOS or Android app store.
  • Open the app to start the registration. You will be asked to choose a four digit PIN number.
  • Scan in the photo page of your passport then take a selfie.

Download the app and try it for yourself

 

Key, locks and now online security from High St shop

Are you a digital ID pioneer?

If you’re using SecureIdentity to access government services online you’re an early adopter of digital identity. Here’s a quick look at how everyday life might change as more people come to understand the benefits of secure digital ID.

Lot’s of people feel familiar with the idea of digital identity because they already do so many things online. They use the internet for: banking, shopping and even socialising. People have up to 27 secure logins that allow them to quickly prove who they are to the companies they regularly do business with.

Digital identity pioneers think differently about ID

This new generation of identity is different. It’s not about being able to prove who you are on a case-by-case basis, one day with your bank the next with your favourite online shopping site. It’s about being able to prove who you are quickly day-in, day-out.

When you have this advanced degree of digital identity it becomes much easier to do lots of important things quickly and easily. But it’s still very new, so sometimes it’s difficult to understand exactly how secure digital identities will improve things.  

Using SecureIdentity to access government services via GOV.UK Verify is an early example of what to expect. Instead of having to register for secure online access to one government service at a time, SecureIdentity lets you access lots of government services using exactly the same process.  But as the idea of digital identity grows what else can we expect to see change?

Timpson holds the key

The High Street retailer Timpson is one company that’s been early to see the potential that this new type of digital identity will bring.

It’s probably not the first name that comes to mind when you think of digital identity services. But when you think about it, Timpson’s customers already go there for their passport pictures and key copies. And if you’re ever unfortunate enough to lock yourself out of your home, Timpson’s is probably the locksmith you trust to get you back in safely. They are the shop you go to for security and keeping things safe.

Over the past few months Timpson has been working with people in the digital identity industry to create and trial lots of the new digital services that citizens will soon need.

This is uncharted territory but founder John Timpson is very clear on how important he feels it is that individuals remain in control of their digital identities. It must be the individual’s choice as to who has access to their secure documents and data. Individuals must be able to share their verified documents easily with the people they want to see them whenever the need arises.

First, Timpson are looking at creating a face-to-face service where branch colleagues will help people through the process of creating their own digital Identity. Timpson believe that about 10% of people would rather go to the High Street to get personal help when they want to create their digital identity. So, as more people want digital identities, Timpson will be there to keep the process simple for those who’d rather not go online alone.

The family lockbox goes online

They’re also mindful that as more of our important documents go digital, people will want a safe place to store them. That’s why they’ve come up with the idea of an online digital vault. It’s a hyper secure online place where we can safely keep the digital versions of things like our birth certificate, marriage licence or mortgage agreement.

Since more of the important documents we’re issued with are going digital everyday, Timpson expects the digital alternative to become more popular. A digital vault will become the alternative to the family lockbox where most people store their important paper documents today.

Over the years, shops like Timpson have always been there to help us manage our everyday security needs. As these needs go digital, it’s only natural that all kinds of retailers start offering new products and services for the digital identity owning citizen.