Science and Technology Committee writes to Francis Maude over digital concerns

francis maude

The Science and Technology Committee (STC) has written an open letter to Francis Maude to express its concerns regarding the government’s digital by default strategy. The letter responds to the Maude’s participation in a Technology Select Committee and requests that the government addresses a number of key points before the first digital services go live. The letter calls into question the cost, security, awareness and uptake, ID assurance, data accuracy and public confidence in the scheme.

Andrew Miller, MP and Chair of the Committee, highlighted Maude’s apparent hesitance to put figures on savings through the scheme online. He said: “This is surprising. Because a key justification of the strategy is savings to the taxpayer.” Miller claimed there is no evidence that the government is managing the savings properly and called for more transparency regarding the costs of the services.

The STC also asked in the letter whether the government is satisfied with its engineering standards for the programme, and voiced worries that the government is importing security vulnerabilities from authorised ID assurance providers.

A spokesman for the Cabinet Office has responded to the letter saying that they will work with experts to develop the ID assurance programme.  “It will be based on published standards of security and information assurance, and identity providers will have to be certified as meeting these standards. We will formally respond to the Committee in due course,” said the spokesman.

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