A Modern Identity System Can Ensure UK Citizens The Right To Vote

Following the news that UK citizens were denied the right to vote in the recent elections due to not having correct ID to validate their identity, Jesper Frederiksen, Head of EMEA at identity access specialists, Okta mentions that the very values of democracy are being tarnished due to archaic methods of ID processes. Jesper argues that a modern identity system capitalising on biometric and mobile technologies will ensure people are entitled to services such as voting.

Jesper Frederiksen, Head of EMEA at Okta:

“Voting is a diplomatic right steeped in history. But it seems that archaic ID processes of identity are denying many UK citizens the right to vote, as displayed in the recent local elections. One voter was denied simply for not having a bank card or an ID card, which seems implausible in an era where digital technologies and innovation can hold the key to identity.

Many people simply do not hold the correct documentation to identify who they are. Some may not use a credit card to be able to validate their credit history, and others who cannot or no longer drive or travel have ID to validate themselves. But in an increasingly digital age, where smartphones are common place across the nation, this might hold the very elements in discerning an individual.

This incident combined with the recent Windrush scandal, shows that a more innovative identity system is required to prove who we are, and what we are entitled to. Physical documentation shouldn’t be the only gateway to this, but a system that makes use of biometric data to identify us. The UK can follow the example set by countries such as India, which through its Aadhaar scheme, issues its citizens a 12 digit unique-identity number based on their biometric and demographic data, enabling fuel subsidies and food rations.

To enable people to vote and uphold the very elements of a democracy, a modern identity system must ascertain what services citizens are entitled to. That’s not to say the future of identity is not very complicated, but capitalising on digital innovation, in some part led by mobile and biometric authentication can be the validation required to prove identity.”

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