Communicator (communicator) wrote,

You got your wish, ID sceptics

There was a massive fuss about secure online identity at the last election (the ID card debate). I argued that there was an unavoidable need for a secure transferable personal identity to allow people to access online services, without giving their personal data repeatedly to a wide range of commercial companies. British people should have an assured identity, our details should be entered once only, kept behind a firewall. In my opinion this should be managed on a public basis, not commercially. The alternative is to be tracked by large companies like Google and Microsoft, which have no democratic accountability.

In my opinion the 'anti-ID' techies were stupidly misguided in opposing this. Classic example of people with good specialist knowledge but poor political judgement. They got hysterical about 'Government ID card scheme'. At the time I argued over and over again - mainly with Lib Dems - that they were over-estimating the dangers of a public service, and under-estimating the dangers of privatisation. The point is that your ID will be tracked, if you exist online at all (for example make payments or take a phone call). The questions remain - how many organisations will hold your core details, and what safeguards are in place. Putting it in the public sector was safer, with greater checks on exploitation.

Now the current government is ready to tender for exactly the same thing. There was always going to be ID scheme, because government IT can't work without it. Now it is going to be handled for commercial gain by Google.
"The federated identity model is really the next government answer to the ID cards that have gone before. It's open, it's federated, it's market-led"... The identity assurance service will essentially be a market of competing private sector identity providers that will sell ID assurance services to the public sector, enabling organisations to identify who they are dealing with during government transactions.

I will concede that the communication of the need for ID was mismanaged by the previous government. I think that's because politicians were as ignorant about IT as the Lib Dem techies were about the realities of politics until it hit them in the face. There was a gulf between them which prevented them from communicating.

  • Phew what a scorcher

    I see Gove has backed down on climate change and it's back in the curriculum again.

  • GCSE Computer Science

    My book is now for sale

  • LJ Settings

    At the moment I have set up this journal so that only friends can comment. I hate doing this, but I was just getting too much Russian spam.

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