The Scottish Government has joined OIX, the organisation that aims to accelerate the adoption of digital identity services based on open standards.

OIX, the Open Identity Exchange, is a “technology agnostic, non-profit trade organisation of leaders from competing business sectors focused on building the volume and velocity of trusted transactions online”.

In a blog post, the Scottish Government’s Digital Service says: “We have looked at best practice worldwide, especially the way that the UK Government Digital Service (GDS) have collaborated with the private sector to tackle common issues around digital identity verification and authentication.

“Over the last five years they have collaborated on a large number of projects with the Open Identity Exchange to advance understanding of, and develop solutions for particular problems around identity.

“As a worldwide, non-profit, cross-sector membership organisation that provides industry leadership for online identity assurance, OIX are a natural fit with the aims of what we are seeking to do in Scotland. They collaborate with governments, councils, identity providers and a host of others to address complex challenges around assurance.”

In a recent white paper, the OIX warned of the cost of not developing a universal solution.

It said that identity fraud is fast growing in the UK, having increased by 50% over the last three years, with most of this activity taking place online. If identity fraud continues to rise at the current rate, the cost to the UK in 2021 could be as much as £8bn.

Conversely, digital identity schemes can enable the development of new products and services, as well as reducing operational costs. The potential value to the UK economy of utilising smart technology, including digital identity, has been estimated to be as high as £58bn by 2020.

“Many fintech businesses and private sector companies are delivering innovative but tactical identity solutions, and the GOV.UK Verify scheme exists in the public sector, yet none of these provide a universal digital identity solution,” it said.

“The UK is among an ever-smaller group of developed nations without a national digital identity infrastructure. The UK has few identity standards, and the market remains fragmented.”

A Scottish Government team has been working on an online identity assurance scheme which will enter the alpha phase next month. OIX will be hosting workshops in Edinburgh with members of the project team and others in the public and private sectors.