UK Government is to announce a list of potential “certified providers” for its “identity assurance programme”. If British citizens have an account with any of these potential providers, they will be able to assert their identity to gov.uk website for a safe and secure access. The public services portal is being developed by the UK as a one stop portal for citizens to find jobs, pay taxes, apply for welfare benefits, car lone or passport.
The Guardian notes that the scheme has been designed by the Cabinet Office to allow citizens to have more control of their data and avoid privacy and security issues that accompany centralized database architecture. No specific companies have been named yet whose login information would be valid but, the Cabinet Office has confirmed that such a mechanism will be made available during 2013-14.
Under the scheme, the Government will refrain from creating a central database instead individuals will have the option of selecting from a range of ‘non-government organizations’ to prove and verify their identity to the gov.uk website. This particular scheme of proving one’s identity is probably going to please netizens more or less happy as they wouldn’t need to create one more set of credentials.
This scheme has invited a degree of skepticism from privacy organizations such as the No2ID campaign, as they believe that even though the plan is good on paper, it may very well turn out to be a “fig leaf” for “the data-hungry government departments,” Guy Herbert of No2ID told the Independent.
When it comes to identity of people owning bank accounts and mobile phones, there is a certain degree of authenticity because of rules followed by financial institutions and telcos. But, when it comes to social sites like Facebook, users may not have given their correct information as one doesn’t need to go through stringent checks for identity verification or creation of account.