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Bridging the Digital Divide: Designing Inclusive Digital IDs

SQR’s CEO, Shelley Langan-Newton shares her views on the important role that digital identities can – and she believes should – have in promoting inclusion. 

The digital revolution has transformed the way we live and work.  However, a significant portion of the global population remains excluded from this transformation, due simply to a lack of formal personal identification.

This digital divide disproportionately impacts vulnerable groups, leaving many without access to essential services and hindering their ability to participate in the digital economy.

We believe that digital identity shouldn’t be a barrier, but a bridge. With this in mind, we’ve developed SQR’s Digital ID to empower everyone to participate in the digital world – securely, easily and always with consent. One crucial factor? SQR’s Digital identity app can be created to be used in person, as well as online. 

Inclusion: The Cornerstone of a Thriving Digital Future

Imagine a world where everybody, regardless of background or circumstance, has a secure and verifiable way to prove their identity.  This is the future that the SQR team is working towards.  By ensuring inclusive access to a reusable digital identity, we can unlock more benefits:

  • Financial Empowerment: enables individuals to open bank accounts, access credit, prove they are who they say they are (KYC) and participate in the digital marketplace.
  • Improved Access to Services: From healthcare to education, digital IDs can streamline access to critical government and social services.
  • Enhanced Security: Verifiable digital IDs can combat fraud and identity theft, creating a more secure online environment for everyone.
  • Building Trust and Transparency: A robust digital identity system fosters trust between individuals and institutions, strengthening civic engagement and economic activity.  

Listening and Responding to Needs

Recent public dialogue findings published by the UK Government’s Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) underscore the importance of inclusion in digital identity systems. Accessibility is a key concern for many, with the report stating:

“(we must) ensure that service providers consider the needs of people without the equipment, confidence or experience to access the technology.

“Many participants thought about the experience of losing their phone, or phone charger, or experiencing phone theft at a critical moment. They wonder what the repercussions of losing access to the main way they have of verifying attributes or identity would be.”

At SQR we aim to ensure that everyone, regardless of their access to technology, is able to securely yet simply verify their identity and participate in the digital world.  

Building an Inclusive Future

Technology is just one piece of the puzzle. To achieve true inclusion, we are committed to working alongside governments, NGOs and community organisations to:

  • Promote Digital Equity: SQR advocates for an equitable user experience, underpinned by inclusive design principles – making it easier for everyone to obtain a Digital ID. We are currently collaborating with Isle of Man charity, Sight Matters, on a series of user acceptance testing for those in our communities that are blind or visually impaired. This programme of work has already proved invaluable as we work towards a more accessible and inclusive future, but it’s only just the start.  
  • Prioritise User Privacy: Security and user control over personal data are paramount concerns. We champion robust privacy protections within Digital ID systems and use an express consent- based model in respect of data sharing.
  • Standards as Standard: As part of the UK Government’s Digital Identity and Attributes Trust Framework (DIATF) or ‘Trust Framework’, we are committed to the following core principles of service:
    We do not charge an end user for creation of their digital identity with SQR, nor will we ever.
    – We only ever share data with organisations that an end user has consented to share it with, and always for the specific sole purpose of identity verification.
    – We do not sell personal data to third parties, and our terms and conditions make clear that it will never be used for marketing purposes.  

SQR demonstrates adherence to these principles, and all of the other stringent standards set out within the Trust Framework, via certification audits conducted by the British Standard Insitute (BSI). 

Unlocking the Future for Everyone

By embracing inclusive digital identities we can unlock a brighter future for all. Together, let’s bridge the digital divide and empower everyone to participate in the opportunities that the digital age offers, without prejudice or compromise.

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