Tips for Government CIOs to Implement Digital Citizen IDs Successfully

Tips for Government CIOs to Implement Digital Citizen IDs Successfully

By Gov CIO Outlook | Thursday, September 05, 2019

Government CIOs need to find a way to create digital citizen IDs that are secure yet convenient.

FREMONT, CA: For long, governments have been investing in digital authentication and identity methods to ensure citizens can effortlessly, securely, and lawfully access public services. But success for a few organizations has been very patchy. In some countries, the entire population uses digital citizen IDs, while others have long tried to establish a system, but with little success.

To create operational and successful digital citizen IDs, governments CIOs are required to focus on three aspects: governance, technology, and user experience.


Government CIOs whose bureau provides a digital service have to select between the two models:

• To administer the complete identification and authentication process internally

• Turn to Digital Identity Service Providers (IDSPs).

IDSPs are becoming a suitable option as they allow government agencies to concentrate their limited capacities on the core business of providing citizen services. Moreover, the model also reduces the mess in citizen identification when having to deal with several logins for different institutions.  

Things Government CIOs Should Know About Digital IDs

With the widespread use of ID technologies, the processes can accelerate the social inclusion of billions of people worldwide who have no formal means of identification. Nonetheless, governments should keep in mind that there are diverse options for outsourcing digital identity provisioning. From government-issued IDs to company-issued ones and combined approaches, every preference has its pros and cons. So, government CIOs must find stability between the benefits of faster takeup when collaborating with the private sector and potential conflicts between the interests of different stakeholders. 

Identity Design

The process of maintaining the balance between citizen expectations and government requirements can be a difficult task. So, government CIOs need to prioritize a high level of security to ensure that citizen IDs are genuine when they access any service, as civilians seek convenient and easy access.

In the past, some governments favored caution over convenience to make systems more secure. The citizens found such systems difficult to use and only the technology-savvy ones took on the challenge for a digital change, while others were still stuck with the conventional analog points of access. 

The three canonical authentication factors that will continue to be a part of the identification and authentication processes include physical tokens, knowledge- or password-based factors, and biometric elements. In effect, to balance convenience and security issues, government CIOs need to take a flexible approach to confirm the levels of security that are definite to the service offered. Furthermore, governments need to accept that a secure design of identities is not only a subject of technology. Organizations should run campaigns that sensitize the populace to the fact that online identities are becoming as valuable and significant in protecting them as analog identities.


In the present time, technologies for digital identity are developing at a rapid pace. In essence, government CIOs need to factor change into their technology choices, but also offer a form of continuity for their users. However, government CIOs must stay on top of how user convenience and security evolve. For example, for more suitable and safe access to the two-factor authentication methods done via SMS can be replaced by a devoted code generator application.

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