When the global pandemic hit earlier this year, countries around the world were suddenly forced to spring into action to protect their populations and provide access to suddenly essential government services.
In the United Kingdom, Mitek and Digidentity, a leading digital identity verification solutions provider in Europe, were faced with the challenge of securely scaling operations to rapidly onboard U.K. citizens registering with GOV.UK Verify, the system that provides online access to 22 government services. The services GOV.UK offer include business and self-employment payments, car registration and tax services, pension queries, and crucially, Universal Credit applications. Universal Credit is the U.K. program that provides payments to those who are out of work, cannot work or who earn a low income, which became an even more vital lifeline during the pandemic.
Solving problems in a global crisis takes teamwork
To accommodate the growing need for U.K. nationals and residents to apply for government services, Mitek and Digidentity worked together to scale-up. At its peak, this meant processing up to 400 applicants per minute. In person – and with social distancing in place – within an hour this line would stretch the length of Manhattan and back again. Since mid-March, more than 1 million new GOV.UK Verify accounts have been created.
For GOV.UK, the priority is to ensure users’ identities are securely verified at the point of application, so that any potential fraud can be stamped out. Over the years, Mitek and Digidentity’s technology has enabled this for millions of GOV.UK Verify registrations. To make the online onboarding process safe, secure, and spoof-proof, the Mitek and Digidentity digital identity verification solution uses a combination of the world’s best forensic experts and most advanced banking-grade digital identity verification technology. Applicants scan an ID document and take a selfie, then Mitek and Digidentity take care of the rest. This approach ensures that the process is fast and efficient, and that those registering with the service are who they say they are.
A lifeline during the pandemic
“Since the start of the pandemic, we’ve seen an unprecedented rise in demand for GOV.UK Verify registrations, with successful applications peaking at 164,672 new profiles per week,” said Dick Dekkers, Technology Director at Digidentity. “To meet this need, we worked tirelessly to scale up our digital verification solution to ensure applicants could register faster, without compromising on safety. Where digital identity verification is concerned, security always trumps speed to safeguard consumers from the risk of identity fraud.”
Mitek’s AI and machine learning is used to perform fully automated authentication checks, which fall back to human-assisted forensic checks for more severe or complex cases. Each identity has to be confirmed and verified in its own right, based on the information provided by each person, in near real time.
At the same time, not all genuine IDs can be checked automatically, as some do not conform to modern document standards and there can be inconsistencies in document images, as well as limited data-capture technologies. The ever-increasing sophistication of criminal forgeries mean that fraud detection technology needs to constantly evolve and improve. To ensure the highest integrity of the identity services provided to GOV.UK Verify, the data provided is matched against authoritative sources like government databases and global organizations, including Interpol.
“We are proud to work with Digidentity, helping UK citizens and residents to access vital online services in these challenging times,” said Max Carnecchia, CEO at Mitek. “Our priority is to ensure that residents can sign up for crucial UK government support services safely and securely, when they need them most.”