Monday, 22 October 2012

GDS and their friends

Will HMG really entrust our personal identities and data collected under statutory authority to those who base their ID governance in Dublin, their IT and security staff in India or their files on the west coast of the US? You could not make up the idea that the Home Office might seriously consider outsourcing the running of our immigration and criminal records to an India software company - but this is allegedly about to happen.
Last week, it was GOV.UK. Later today, the Government Digital Service (GDS) should make an announcement about identity assurance (IdA).

GDS want to make all public services digital by default. That will "transform government", they say, it will make it joined up and modern and efficient and trusted and green.

Take Universal Credit (UC) as an example. If people are to register for UC on-line using GOV.UK and receive their benefit payments on-line, DWP need to know who the claimants are, DWP need identity assurance – no IdA, no UC.

DWP lost control over identity assurance to GDS. Today's announcement may come from DWP but it's GDS in the driving seat: "... This approach ensures that, ultimately, HMG-wide Identity Assurance is supplied across central departments via a common procurement portal (to HMG agreed standards) and governed by the Cabinet Office".

Today's announcement will name the UK's "identity providers". (You'll soon get used to the term.) These are the companies who will help to provide DWP among others with the reassurance they need that benefits are being paid to legitimate recipients.

UC is just an example. Digital by default is for everyone. Not just benefit claimants. We'll all need an identity provider in GDS's new world. Even taxpayers. And children. The freshly conceived? The dead. Anyone who wants a passport. Or a driving licence. Or who wants to get married. Or enter into a civil partnership. Or go on holiday. Or vote. Or draw a pension. Or avail themselves of non-emergency state healthcare. Or state education. Or change job. Or submit their VAT return. Or ...

On 4 October 2012 the Independent newspaper published National 'virtual ID card' scheme set for launch (Is there anything that could possibly go wrong?). The article named Facebook, Microsoft, Google and PayPal (owned by eBay) among others as likely identity providers and GDS said: "If you’d like to know more the Q&A in The Independent gives a pretty good overview (the only thing we’d really quibble with is the headline)".

I.e. the Independent article was a leak and is reliable. And it says: "The identification systems used by the private companies have been subjected to security testing before being awarded their “Identity Provider” (IDP) kitemark, meaning that they have made the list of between five and 20 approved organisations that will be announced on 22 October".

As you listen to today's announcement, if it happens, you will be comforted to know that GDS is your friend and that all the hard work on GOV.UK and IdA is for you, it is designed around you and your user experience of digital by default, which will empower you, Facebook and Google and PayPal and Microsoft (and eBay and Amazon and Apple) are trusted third parties and ...
  1. Sunday Times, 21 October 2012 eBay avoids £50m tax
  2. Independent, 21 October 2012 eBay joins list of firms avoiding most tax - and doing it legally
  3. Observer, 21 October 2012 Amazon makes UK publishers pay 20% VAT on ebook sales
  4. Sunday Times, 21 October 2012 Apple downloads another $10bn
  5. Philip Virgo, 20 October 2012 Why is Dublin the on-line capital of Europe ?
  6. Daily Express, 18 October 2012 WHY TAX AVOIDANCE LEAVES A BAD TASTE IN YOUR MOUTH
  7. Guardian, 17 October 2012 Should we boycott the tax-avoiding companies?
  8. Sunday Times, 14 October 2012 Apple avoids up to £570m in British tax
  9. The Register, 11 October 2012 Facebook says it's LOSING money in the UK ... pays hardly any tax
  10. Independent, 11 October 2012 Facebook: The antisocial network branded 'disingenuous and immoral' 
  11. Media Week, 11 October 2012 Facebook paid staff more per head than its entire UK tax
  12. Sunday Times, 30 September 2012 The Untaxables
  13. Daily Telegraph, 20 September 2012 Microsoft 'used offshore units to avoid paying $4.5bn in taxes', Senate claims
  14. The Register, 20 September 2012 Senate hears Microsoft and HP avoided billions in US taxes
  15. Wall Street Journal, 20 September 2012 Senate Committee Questions Overseas Tax Schemes
  16. Daily Telegraph, 13 August 2012 Google to face MPs over tax avoidance scheme
  17. Sunday Times, 5 August 2012 Apple’s cash crisis (it’s got too much money)
  18. Daily Mail, 24 July Yes, I pay builders in cash. But what’s really immoral is billionaires and firms like Google who avoid tax
  19. Sunday Times, 8 July 2012 French tax swoop on Microsoft
  20. Times, 27 June 2012 EU planning cross-border crackdown on tax evasion
  21. PC Advisor, 22 June 2012 Forget Jimmy Carr: check out Google, Amazon and Apple's tax records
  22. Sunday Times, 17 June 2012 How Google turned evil (Apple and Facebook aren’t much better)
  23. Daily Mail, 30 April 2012 How Apple (legally) avoided paying BILLIONS in taxes last year - despite record profits
  24. Sunday Times, 22 April 2012 Apple’s Irish tax ploy
  25. Macworld, 19 April 2012 Claims of Apple's tax dodging are untrue
  26. Which?, 11 April 2012 Is Amazon’s avoidance taxing the UK’s ebook retailers?
  27. Sunday Times, 8 April 2012 Apple’s UK tax dodge
  28. Daily Mail, 8 April 2012 Apple 'made £6bn' in UK... but paid only £10m in tax
  29. Guardian, 6 April 2012 Tim Waterstone warns Amazon tax avoidance could kill off bookshops
  30. Independent, 5 April 2012 Amazon investigated by UK authorities over tax avoidance
  31. Daily Mail, 5 April 2012 Amazon, Google, and the sordid reality of tax avoidance
  32. BBC, 5 April 2012 Corporation tax: Easy for multinationals to avoid?
  33. Daily Telegraph, 5 April 2012 Amazon faces UK corporation tax probe
  34. Guardian, 4 April 2012 Amazon: £7bn sales, no UK corporation tax
  35. Sunday Times, 25 March 2012 Apple’s $100bn headache
  36. Sunday Times, 12 February 2012 The anti-social network
  37. Sunday Tiimes, 5 February 2012 Revealed: Facebook’s network in offshore tax havens
  38. Sunday Times, 3 February 2012 Google pays only 3% tax on foreign profit
  39. Wall Street Journal, 3 August 2011 Amazon Battles States Over Sales Tax
  40. London Evening Standard, 20 July 2011 Britain loses out in Google's tax avoidance
  41. Wall Street Journal, 20 June 2011 British Online Retailers to Face Tax Scrutiny
  42. Sunday Times, 29 May 2011 Google beats £3bn tax
  43. Times, 16 March 2011 No taxation: Amazon declares war on the states
  44. Wall Street Journal, 27 March 2010 The Sales Tax That Comes Back to Bite
  45. Guardian, 23 September 2009 Is Microsoft a tax dodger?
  46. Wall Street Journal, 6 April 2009 Firms Move to Fight Overseas-Profit Tax
  47. Wall Street Journal, 11 September 2008 Street Firms Accused of Tax Scheme
  48. ...
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Updated 3.7.14
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