Trustworthy digital infrastructure for identity systems

Enhancing the privacy and security of national digital identity systems

Project status



Governments around the world are committed to supporting the roll out of national digital IDs, but there are privacy and security implications associated with scaling these systems at a national level.

Responsible implementation of ID services is a critical enabler for financial inclusion; it enables access to services and enactment of civil rights. According to the World Bank, more than one billion people are currently living without an official digital identity.

The Alan Turing Institute is joining a vibrant community of NGOs, charities, private sector providers, universities and think tanks addressing global identity challenges in the digital age.

Questions of trust are based around the complex interplay of socio-technical considerations, requiring multi-disciplinary expertise. The ‘trustworthiness’ of digital IDs is characterised by multiple inter-related dimensions that include security, privacy, ethics, resilience, robustness and reliability. These dimensions are required to provide the knowledge, tools and guidance needed to implement privacy-preserving, secure identification systems

This initiative has received initial funding through a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Please see here for our current vacancies.

Trustworthy digital identity conference 

The most recent conference took place on Friday 16 September 2022, for more information, see event page

Project aims

The project aims to enhance the privacy and security of national digital identity systems, with the ultimate goal to maximise the value to beneficiaries, whilst limiting known and unknown risks to these constituents and maintaining the integrity of the overall system.

The project is comprised of three major workstreams:

  1. Knowledge: Undertake the fundamental research required to develop new solutions that realise trustworthy identity systems, and understand the social, economic and ethical issues pertaining to these systems. This research effort will seek to increase shared understanding of the key issues and risks for national ID systems.
  2. Development: Develop new software and technical components to apply the state-of-the-art research to existing systems and translate it into high priority application areas. Working with existing open source providers we will analyse the complex, interface and various functional requirements for a large-scale identification system.
  3. Implementation: Work with priority countries, ecosystem collaborators such as World Bank’s ID for Development (ID4D) initiative and open-source providers to pilot and scale new knowledge and technical components including development of architecture for optimal solutions, assessment of technical implementation risks,and modification of components to make them context and scale appropriate.

This is a multi-disciplinary project bringing together skills from diverse fields such as threat modelling and red teaming, dynamic cyber security and real-time governance, risk modelling, cloud solutions/ID-as-a-service, privacy enhancing technologies (PETs) and security policy development. Please see related opportunities here.


Researchers and collaborators