Understanding the Data Protection and Digital Information Bill

profile picture Rachael Trotman 7 min read

The Data Protection and Digital Information Bill (DPDI) is the UK’s first piece of legislation to introduce provisions for a national digital identity framework. This will be called the Digital Verification Service (DVS). It has the ambition to revolutionise how individuals prove themselves and make admin processes easier, quicker and smoother. 

This blog provides an overview of the Data Protection and Digital Information Bill. This is a two-part Bill, but we will focus more on the digital identity verification provisions, exploring what this means for digital identities in the UK. 


What is the DPDI Bill?

This long-awaited Bill formally sets up a new national digital identity framework, which so far, has been known informally as the ‘United Kingdom Digital Identity & Attributes Trust Framework’ or ‘UKDIATF’. The new framework will be known as the ‘Digital Verification Service’ or ‘DVS’. This framework will enable UK residents to use digital identities with the same confidence as paper documents in an ever-growing range of situations. Digital identities can already be used as proof of identity for right to work, right to rent and criminal record checks. The DPDI Bill can expand utility of digital identities to more areas, such as opening a bank account or moving house. 


What are the main requirements of the Bill?

  • establish a framework for the provision of digital verification services to enable digital identities to be used with the same confidence as paper documents.
  • increase fines for nuisance calls and texts under the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR).
  • update the PECR to cut down on ‘user consent’ pop-ups and banners.
  • allow for the sharing of customer data, through smart data schemes, to provide services such as personalised market comparisons and account management.
  • reform the way births and deaths are registered in England and Wales, enabling the move from a paper-based system to registration in an electronic register.
  • facilitate the flow and use of personal data for law enforcement and national security purposes.
  • create a clearer legal basis for political parties and elected representatives to process personal data for the purposes of democratic engagement.


What is the status of the Bill?

The Data Protection and Digital Information Bill returned to parliament in November 2023 and is currently going through the House of Lords. After a short break there, it is set to go through Committee stage from 20th March. It is believed that the Bill should complete its parliamentary journey by the end of Spring.


What are the two parts of the DPDI Bill?

The Bill is split into two parts. Part one focuses on a data reform, which includes updating some elements of UK GDPR. 

Part two focuses on establishing a framework so that digital verification services and digital identities can have the same parity with paper documents. The Bill aims to provide a formal legal basis on which to base the UK’s national digital identity trust framework. This should provide residents and businesses with greater trust and confidence, and widen the acceptance and utility of digital identities across society.


What are the main requirements of part two of the DPDI Bill? 

Part two of the Bill aims to bring digital identity to more people by establishing the UK’s digital identity trust framework and introducing a digital identity regulator. 

There are four main components to this part:

  • Digital Verification Service (DVS) Trust Framework which sets out rules concerning the provision of digital verification services.
  • DVS register, a list of businesses providing digital verification services. 
  • An information gateway which enables public authorities to share information about an individual with an organisation registered on the DVS register, where the individual makes a request to the registered organisation.
  • A trust mark for those providing digital verification services. This can only be used by organisations that are registered on the DVS register.


What could part two of the Bill mean for businesses?

Once digital verification services have the same level of confidence and acceptance as paper documents, more UK businesses are likely to accept digital identities. In turn, this is likely to encourage more people to use a digital identity.

A digital identity can offer many benefits to businesses including: 

  • Enhanced verification and better protection against fraud – the quality of fake documents is becoming more sophisticated and in 2024, spotting a fake ID with the human eye is nearly impossible. Digital verification is a more robust and thorough approach to relying on physical documents to confirm a customer’s age or identity.
  • Minimised data collection – companies can request just the information they need to deliver a service, and therefore store less customer data. Certified Digital IDs should eliminate the need for compliance officers to request both personal details and an image of a passport or driving licence.
  • Streamlined verification and reduced costs – companies can connect with verified customers in seconds, saving the time and costs associated with manual processes.
  • Improved authentication – businesses can reduce their reliance on people manually entering details (knowledge based checks) which are prone to errors. Digital IDs allow businesses to identify and authenticate customers to higher standards. 
  • Better customer experience customer expectations have started to shift and they want to be able to do more things online or on their phone. Digital IDs provide both privacy and convenience, giving users a better experience.


What could part two of the Bill mean for individuals?

The Bill aims to make things easier and safer for people in the UK who wish to prove their identity. This is already possible for right to work and right to rent checks, and will be expanded for things like moving house and opening a bank account. Instead of having to show physical documents, people can share verified information digitally. Not only is this more convenient but it also increases the security and privacy of personal data:

  • More privacy and security – Digital IDs allow people to share specific pieces of information, such as just their name or an age attribute, such as ‘over 18’. This is safer and more private – after all, it’s not possible to use an identity document as proof of age or address, without sharing all of the details on that document. This results in people sharing more information than necessary, putting them at greater risk of identity theft.
  • Control and transparency over personal data – people can have greater control and oversight over the details they are sharing. For instance, with a Digital ID app, such as Yoti ID, Post Office EasyID and Lloyds Bank Smart ID, people always consent to share their information and have a record of what data they’ve shared and who they’ve shared it with.
  • Greater convenience – people can share verified information quickly online or using a reusable Digital ID app. This removes the tedious process of having to fill out forms that request lots of personal information, or the risks associated with scanning and posting copies of physical documents.
  • Greater accessibility and inclusivity – not everyone has access to paper documents or the ability to complete verification checks in person. Digital checks make it easier for people who live in remote communities, or who are unable to travel to a company office in another city to complete an in-person check.


A final thought

Robin Tombs, CEO at Yoti said, “From greater privacy and security, convenience, and inclusion, digital identities offer lots of benefits to businesses and people. They have the potential to transform everyday actions, like proving our age to buy a bottle of wine or collecting a parcel, as well as helping us to complete more complicated tasks, like moving house or proving our right to work. The Data Protection and Digital Information Bill can build more trust and confidence in Digital IDs, and open up further opportunities for Digital IDs to truly flourish in the UK.” 

We will continue to follow the progress of the DPDI Bill as it progresses through Parliament, and will update this blog with any key changes. Follow us on LinkedIn for the latest news.