Citizens would prefer government-owned identity provider


The Government Digital Service (GDS) announced in June that HMRC is to become the first department to use the government’s online identity scheme. The scheme is being implemented to allow people to verify who they are when using online public services.

The scheme will be run by eight private sector organisations which will hold digital ‘passports’ for enrolled UK citizens, enabling them to access online government services. According to the Unisys Security Index, although 91% of UK residents surveyed support the scheme, only 9% are confident that private companies can be trusted to manage their private information. Only 15% of respondents claimed that they would trust credit card companies to manage a digital identity scheme, and only 4% would trust social media providers. However, a significantly higher number of respondents, 61%, would entrust their digital identity data to the government.

One UK citizen said:”I pay the government to identify and verify me when I am born (birth certificate), when I marry (marriage certificate), when I die (death certificate) and when I travel (passport and driving licence). Why should I then have to pay an outside private organisation to verify who I am when I transact with the government online, when I’ve already paid the government? Let the government – possibly the passport service that is also the national records office – be my identity provider of choice.”

According to Neil Fisher, vice president of global security solutions for Unisys, the government should closely examine the identity assurance model and listen to consumer preferences.

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