Tuesday 23 October 2012

Reminiscing about IdA while we wait to find out about our identity providers

30 September 2012 has come and gone. Everyone was looking forward to discovering which companies would be the UK's "identity providers" but the deadline passed and we're none the wiser.

Then it seemed as though we would be told on 22 October 2012. That's what it said in the Independent and the Government Digital Service (GDS) seemed quite happy with that coverage but no, still no answer.

While we're waiting, it's tempting to reminisce about the history of GDS's Identity Assurance project (IdA).

IdA started as part of the G-Digital programme. A number of private sector organisations were inveigled into  collaborating on the programme, groups of them were sent away to work on different tasks and in January 2010 a report of their findings was produced.

Worthily written, the report ploughs relentlessly through its ten objectives. Stop for a while at Objective #4 – To determine any gaps in our Business Services on p.9. On-line payments? Got it. Enrolment? Got it. Search engine optimisation? Etc ... All the business services are there, no gaps, including Adserver.

Adserver? In the public sector? In the UK?

Take a look at GOV.UK. Lots of space down the sides on the screen, left and right. Bit of a shock at first to be sure but, think about it, why not, this is the world of Facebook and Google now, and Amazon and eBay, very handy for advertisements.

Extract from G-Digital Market Investigation High Level Analysis & Findings

What would it look like if GOV.UK carried advertisements?

Here, for example, is a serious Simon Jenkins article on the Guardian's Comment is free forum topped off and flanked with advertisements for holidays in Kenya. Suppose you were browsing GOV.UK instead of the Guardian. Suppose it was your tax return on the screen instead of a Simon Jenkins article. And suppose that the same advertisements were there.

That couldn't happen, could it?

Yes it could. There didn't used to be advertisements on Comment is free until someone came along and re-designed it:

The future look of GOV.UK?

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