Saturday, 13 June 2015

RIP IDA – Whitehall and eternity

No need to say it, it goes without saying, it should be obvious to all but,
just in case it isn't obvious to all,
IDA is dead.

IDA, now known as "GOV.UK Verify (RIP)",
is the Cabinet Office Identity Assurance programme.
And it's dead.

Here's a selection of Government Digital Service (GDS) posts and a film published in the week leading up to purdah:

24-03-2015
Janet Hughes
25-03-2015
Chris Mitchell
25-03-2015
Janet Hughes
25-03-2015
Janet Hughes
26-03-2015
Janet Hughes and Stephen Dunn
26-03-2015
Mike Bracken
27-03-2015
David Rennie
27-03-2015
Mike Bracken
27-03-2015
Mike Beavan
28-03-2015
Mike Bracken
28-03-2015
Mike Bracken
29-03-2015
Mike Bracken
29-03-2015
Liam Maxwell
30-03-2015
Martha Lane Fox

Let's take a look at David Rennie's 27 March 2015 offering, Working with the private sector to verify identity. It won't take long.

Mr Rennie tells us that GDS have regular chats with the Open Identity Exchange (OIX). OIX is a talking shop where people interested in identity management meet. Including GDS. GDS have chatted in particular with the GSMA, the Payments Council and VocaLink. "We are now planning a project to investigate how a certified company could validate a user’s bank details", says Mr Rennie, and that's it.

See? It didn't take long.

In fact, why bother to write about it?

Answer, partly because we know that unmentioned by Mr Rennie GDS have also been talking to the pornographers and the insurance industry, both of whom have rejected GOV.UK Verify (RIP) as useless ...

... and partly because Mr Rennie has just published the same post again, please see Identity assurance and the private sector - a discovery project. No mention this time of the GSMA, the Payments Council or VocaLink, but OIX still figure prominently and so do the banks: "banks and pension providers are interested in how they might use digital identity assurance such as that provided by GOV.UK Verify (RIP)".

So what? So "we've agreed with OIX that it would be useful to have a structured and open conversation about this".

Why? What are they going to talk about? "This will help us develop a shared understanding of the needs for identity assurance ... Nothing is decided or presumed in this work at this stage - we’re approaching the issue with an open mind ... At the moment we’re doing early planning work for this project ...".

Early planning work? Identity assurance and the private sector – a discovery project? Is this some sort of elaborate joke? Nothing is decided ... at this stage? It should be – for goodness sake, Mr Rennie has been engaged in this talkathon for ten years:
David Rennie works for the Cabinet Office's Government Digital Service (GDS) where he is Industry Engagement Lead for the pan-Government Identity Assurance Programme (IDAP). Originally a payments consultant in the financial services sector, David joined the Home Office's Identity Card Programme in 2005 to define and develop the notion of 'identity services' under the National Identity Scheme. He went on to support James Crosby's Public Private Forum on Identity Management in 2007 / 2008 [Crosby, Smith, Kelly and Brown]. Since then he has been developing the principles defined in the Crosby Report into the UK public sector's approach to identity assurance initially from within Directgov and latterly through the Identity Assurance Programme.
If nothing's been decided after all this time it clearly never will be. RIP IDA.

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