New Zealand and Scotland’s Progression into a Life Controlled by Digital IDs

New Zealand’s Managed Isolation and Quarantine (“MIQ”) program were keeping records of its staff during the “pandemic” using a JNCTN app.  Now, JNCTN-produced software tools are seeking to serve as digital ID verification for staff of other organisations.

JNCTN has partnered with a UK digital ID company Yoti and NEC New Zealand. The JNCTN/NEC partnership integrates JNCTN’s cloud-based solutions within NEC’s biometric authentication technology and processes

Yoti has also partnered with the Scottish Government to provide a digital ID system. At the same time as partnering with Yoti, the Scottish Government partnered with cloud solutions provider Brightsolid.

The parallels between the two countries are not a coincidence.

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New Zealand’s Progression Towards Digital Identities

Compulsory managed isolation and quarantine was announced by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on 9 April 2020, with the program coming into effect for people boarding flights to New Zealand from midnight that day.  Anyone entering New Zealand was required to enter MIQ and isolation facilities were opened.

Further reading: Covid-19: A timeline of New Zealand’s MIQ system, 1 News, 3 February 2022

Covid travel restrictions provided the perfect opportunity for the New Zealand government to test a digital ID system within the MIQ program. When JNCTN heard about the government’s plans for MIQ facilities, it knew it had the right tools “to help.”  The JNCTN app had been used by StayLive, an industry body for New Zealand’s electricity sector, since 2016 to record workers’ training and competencies.

“With the JNCTN app, there are no more spreadsheets that need to be maintained and uploaded by course administrators. You just scan the app at your course and the information is automatically available in the cloud, then you can scan in on-site straight away,” Jarrod Bowler, Group Manager of Safety and Wellness, Genesis, said. “The app is a digital wallet that contains all workers’ skills, as well as their academic record and licence details.”

For MIQ, JNCTN was responsible for creating “an efficient ecosystem” of credential providers, from trainers to people carrying out staff inductions to vaccination providers and many more, so employee records could be updated and monitored in real time. The next task was creating an individual profile for each worker, giving them access to their identification credentials via a digital wallet. Then, on arriving at work, they could simply scan in via a unique QR code holding all their information.

In all, 16,500 MIQ workers were onboarded into the system, spanning 650 organisations.   Between 4,000 and 4,500 people were using it on any given day.

On 10 March 2022, the New Zealand Government announced plans to phase out the MIQ system with all but four of the 32 facilities closed by the end of June.  Now, as MIQ ends, JNCTN is seeking potential in digital credentialing:

“It’s challenging the norm, making us think differently about how we help each other get to a better place as an industry with shared data. Digitisation has given us much more effective reporting, highlighting any weaknesses in our system much earlier, shaping our training design and practice. And the MIQ example has shown us how else we could apply it, enabling workers to scan through gates via their phones or cards without any manual processing. That could save our industry huge amounts of time and resources,” [said Bowler].

JNCTN is also excited about the potential for digital credentialing to help job seekers “match” jobs requiring the same skills and training. Employers can also view the digital credentials of their workforces to see who has the skills they need for particular roles and tasks, as well as identify skills gaps across their organisation so they can prepare their teams for the future. For example, in Scotland, schools have replaced student ID cards with smart credentials.

“From construction to creating audit trails, and even enabling customers to confirm that the trades-person turning up at their door has the right tools for the job, there are so many applications,” notes Dan Stemp, Chief Customer Officer, JNCTN.

As MIQ ends, JNCTN seeks potential in digital credentialing, IT Brief, 15 November 2022

A JNCTN/Yoti partnership was announced on 30 June 2020. Robin Tombs is the CEO and co-founded Yoti in 2014 to build a global, consumer-facing digital identity platform.

In August 2020, Tombs the “leading UK digital identity entrepreneur” invested in JNCTN.  “His investment takes Yoti’s recently announced strategic partnership with JNCTN another step forward,” JNCTN announced.

The JNCTN Yoti partnership established an international leadership position in the digital identity and credential management sector. It created a single integrated solution that provides a digital credential wallet for businesses and individuals alike. It allows the safe and secure issuing, storing, sharing and revoking of credentials, which are matched to a verified personal ID so an individual can prove their identity and qualifications are genuine.

Leading UK digital identity entrepreneur invests in JNCTN, JNCTN, 25 August 2020

On 6 October 2020, NEC New Zealand announced a biometrics partnership with JNCTN.  This partnership enabled JNCTN to integrate its cloud-based solutions within NEC’s biometric authentication technology and processes. A blog post in April 2020 wrote that NEC had singled out the Internet of Things (“IoT”) as a particular challenge for secure credentialing, and biometrics was the way to meet that challenge.

Scotland’s Progression Towards Digital Identities

In 2018, Yoti was selected by the States of Jersey as its official ID provider and had also worked with WorldPay, NHS Ipswich Hospital, the NSPCC and CitizenCard. But its partnership with the Scottish Government, the company said, could propel it to become the world’s most trusted identity platform.

In August 2018, Yoti partnered with the Scottish Government to trial a digital identity platform. “Scottish residents could use its biometric app to verify their identities to businesses, to prove they are of age to buy restricted goods, to access government services, to confirm their identities online, and to access websites without the need for a password,” Yoti’s website stated.

“Verified digital identities will help transform local and national services in Scotland as businesses and public bodies have confidence individuals are who they say they are; creating more trust and transparency in the details shared,” Tombs said.

The partnership was made through the Improvement Service, an organisation whose mandate is to improve local government services in Scotland.  The Improvement Service runs the myaccount portal for local councils.  It has added Yoti as a second registration method on the portal allowing users to verify their identity by scanning a QR code with their Yoti Digital ID.

In 2020 the Covid “pandemic” provided the opportunity for Yoti to expand its digital ID services.  It became impossible for Scots to apply in person for a National Entitlement Card (“NEC”) when council offices were forced to close.  So, a new online portal for NEC applications was developed. “To give applicants as much flexibility as possible,” they integrated the Improvement Service’s digital identity app and embedded ID verification technology to give people two ways to prove their identity – by either uploading an ID document to the web portal or sharing verified identity details from a Yoti Digital ID.

In 2018, as part of a three-year Memorandum of Understanding between the Improvement Service and the Scottish Government, the Improvement Service established partnerships with not only Yoti but three other technology partners: information technology consultancy TCS, cloud solutions provider Brightsolid, and blockchain specialist Wallet.Services, now known as SICCAR.

SICCAR is a member of ScotlandIS, the membership and cluster management organisation for Scotland’s digital technologies industry. ScotlandIS is a partner of Blockchain Technology Partners, headquartered in Edinburgh and co-founded by Duncan Johnston-Watt.

In October 2008, Johnston-Watt left Enigmatec Corporation, which he had founded, to establish and lead Cloudsoft Corporation, an Enigmatec spin-out based in Edinburgh. “The goal of Cloudsoft will be to deliver enterprise-class Cloud Services orchestrated by Enigmatec software,” explained Johnston-Watt.  Considering Microsoft also made its entry into cloud computing with Windows Azure in October 2008, Johnston-Watt is seen as one of the pioneers of the cloud.

The connection of Johnson-Watt’s blockchain services to the Scottish government’s overall digital plan is explained in a video Temora Yuille uploaded last week, in which she gave an update on the Scottish Government’s progress as they prepare to go live with Scotland’s Digital Identity Programme. 

Her video was primarily a call to action for Scots to attend an open meeting that was held on 16 November; however, it contains a good summation of the “pre-contrived digital ID system” to which the world is now facing the reality.  Towards the end of her video, she mentioned the Scottish Blockchain Meetup which regularly attracts over 200 attendees and world-leading experts. 

“It went on to reference a list of [small or medium-sized enterprises] SMEs involved in blockchain development. For instance, Edinburgh-based Blockchain Technology Partners – founded by cloud pioneer Duncan Johnston-Watt – who provide a production-ready blockchain platform and partner with businesses to deliver blockchain-based solutions which they then operate on their behalf,” Yuille said.

Temora Yuille: Short video encouraging people to engage with Scotland’s soon to be launched Digital ID Programme,
13 November 2022 (11 mins)

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