Survey: Majority in favor of online identity verification for government services

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Researchers found that 52% of those surveyed believed the ability to prove who they were online at any time was the most convenient option compared to checks in person at a post office.

However, the popularity of online verification declined when respondents were categorized by age. Almost two-thirds of 18-24 year olds thought online identity verification was the most convenient way for them to prove who they were. Only 49% of respondents aged 45 to 54 think online is the most convenient; the figure fell to 40% for people aged 55 and over.

Full-time workers (61%) and full-time students (64%) were the most likely to say online identity verification was the most convenient.


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The research was conducted by YouGov on behalf of the Chester-based Identity Data Intelligence Specialist GBG, who has just launched his CitizenSafe system on the government’s GOV.UK Verify portal.

While access to some online government services – such as self-assessment tax returns – previously required login credentials to be requested and mailed, or even face-to-face identity checks , the government’s digital service goal for Verify is that online identity verification should take about 10 minutes.

Verify provides service users with a choice of third-party identity verification providers to reduce the risk of data security breaches. Other identity assurance services are offered by providers, including Digidentity, Experiential, Post Office and Verizon.

Suzy Thomas, Head of Customer Experience at CitizenSafe, said she believes GOV.UK Verify is a world first that will help tackle the growing problem of online identity theft.

“Gone are the days of queuing up with your passport and ID to prove who you are,” she said. “Now you can do it all just online, when it’s convenient for you. “

According to the GDS, regardless of the users’ choice of the third-party verification company service, subsequent logins should take less than a minute after the original verification process.

GOV.UK Verify is currently running in beta form and should be fully operational next month.


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