New Zealand’s quarantine program utilizes digital ID wallets
A partnership with Microsoft's cloud.
The news of yet another example of the pandemic being used as what looks to the authorities like an excellent excuse to introduce some new form of digital IDs and advance the usage of such tools is arriving from New Zealand.
The country’s Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ) government program that during the pandemic operated by keeping records manually is now switching to JNCTN-produced software tools that will serve as digital ID verification for the MIQ staff.
Going forward, the quarantine program employees will have their certification, clearances, training, etc., tracked in this way, appropriate to the environment they are in.
The importance of the move to a digital ID wallet is particularly pronounced since MIQ was one of the key components in New Zealand’s rigid and often radical manner of dealing with Covid.
Not only that, but the approach to the problem reflected in a massive operation. During the pandemic that involved more than 14,000 people and 650 organizations in running MIQ facilities (MIQFs).
The government agency behind MIQ, the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE), was in charge of making sure that MIQ border workers compiled at all times, and now, once again, “convenience” is being mentioned as a key reason to switch to digital IDs – reportedly, those workers had to go through a “manual” routine of proving their ID and health status, which is said to have been “repetitive and time consuming.”
Enter the digital wallet. It depends on Microsoft’s Azure cloud service and is provided by JNCTN, which says it is a leading SaaS platform allowing for real-time credential issuance and management.
The contactless tool it provides is said to have been tested by MIQ security and is already “significantly reducing” the time needed to comply with entry and exit rules for workers in said facilities.
Money saving is cited as one benefit of all this – but only as a “prediction” – the deployment of JNCTN is supposed to save the New Zealand government $6 million a year by cutting down on “time and resources.”
The MIQ deal is just an addition to JNCTN wallet’s government clients portfolio, which could soon include job seekers.
UK and Ukraine to collaborate on digital ID
As part of a new trade deal.
The United Kingdom (UK) and Ukraine have signed a digital trade deal aimed at helping the Ukrainian economy to recover and “improve” both countries’ digital output. The Digital Trade Agreement (DTA) also has a provision for collaborating on digital identity, where Ukraine supposedly has a lot to teach the UK about ID tracking tech and using digital ID to access services.
Related: Lobbyists call on the US government to develop digital ID infrastructure for “security” reasons
Ukraine’s highly-sophisticated digital ID, Diia, is used to grant the public access to most government services online. It has nine digital credentials: the ID card, the identity provider (IDP) certificate for network access, birth certificate, passport, driving license, tax number, student card, and vehicle registration certificate.
The UK does not have a national digital ID system and, over the years, there has been much pushback about implementing any form of national ID.
The DTA will “deliver greater compatibility and interoperability between digital identity systems in the UK and Ukraine,” – that’s according to the UK’s Department of International Trade.
The DTA will allow Ukrainians to access financial services. The deal also creates more cooperation between the two countries in emerging technologies and cybersecurity. The announcement says it will bring about, “greater cooperation between the UK and Ukraine on cybersecurity and emerging technologies, helping to keep UK and Ukrainian businesses and people safer.”
“Trading digitally is particularly important in the current conflict, where damage to Ukrainian infrastructure and warfare makes it much harder to trade physically,” said the UK’s Department of International Trade. “For example, there is a critical need for people to be able to use digital solutions to prove they are who they say they are, despite the loss of critical documentation or displacement across borders. The agreement provides a framework for the UK and Ukraine to cooperate to promote compatibility between their respective digital identity systems to help address this.”
By Ken Macon