Paper identification documents 'should be replaced with digital equivalent'

18 Sep 2017

Paper identification documents, such as passports, should be replaced with a digital alternative, the Social Market Foundation (SMF) has stated.

According to research carried out by the think tank, moving to a digital form of identification could help to reduce cybercrime.

The SMF found that the number of identity fraud cases in the UK has risen significantly: an analysis of data published by fraud prevention service Cifas revealed that between 2010 and 2016, the number of identity fraud cases increased by 68%. The decade to 2020 will see around 1.5 million cases of fraud in the UK 'if current trends persist', the SMF predicts.

It also revealed that a correlation exists between economic deprivation and access to photographic identification. Individuals living in 'relatively deprived areas' are less likely to be able to access a passport or driving licence, the Foundation suggested.

Other countries around the world have already begun to use digital identification methods, and are 'embracing the opportunities' they offer, according to the think tank.

In order to bring the UK up to speed, the SMF has recommended an 'intuitive and secure' smartphone app, which would store an individual's biometric data for identification purposes.

It is also calling for the UK to become the 'world leader' in identity verification and authentication services.

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