Thursday, 13 December 2018

RIP IDA – LSE Prof sells CGD a pup

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.

"If Verify is the answer, what was the question?"

The Law Commission: "Verify does not currently ensure that the person entering the information
is in fact the person he or she is purporting to be;
rather it focuses on verifying that the person exists" (para.6.67/p.119)


May 2013, and Alan Gelb and Julia Clark of the Center for Global Development publish a report on biometrics. Not so much a report as an uncritical re-hash of the marketing material used by the biometrics industry. The industry that owes so much to astrology.

It is possible that you had forgotten.

November 2018, and the CGD publish an odd report on GOV.UK Verify (RIP) with a preface by the same Alan Gelb. At least, one assumes that it's the same Alan Gelb.

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

RIP IDA – international ID slapstick, that's the way to do it

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.

"If Verify is the answer, what was the question?"

The Law Commission: "Verify does not currently ensure that the person entering the information
is in fact the person he or she is purporting to be;
rather it focuses on verifying that the person exists" (para.6.67/p.119)

A week ago we learnt that people with a German electronic ID are now able to use it to log on to HMRC:


Thursday, 20 September 2018

The Digital Ape: how to live (in peace) with smart machines by Nigel Shadbolt and Roger Hampson

The Digital Ape: how to live (in peace) with smart machines
by Nigel Shadbolt and Roger Hampson

Professor Sir Nigel Shadbolt is well known to DMossEsq's millions of readers as the prophet of the magic of open data. He's the chairman and co-founder of the Open Data Institute and Roger Hampson is one of the ODI's four non-executive directors.

The title "The Digital Ape" is inspired by Desmond Morris's The Naked Ape and extends his evolutionary approach to artificial intelligence. Man has always used tools to overcome his original shortcomings. First there was the hand axe. Now there's artificial intelligence. Messrs Shadbolt and Hampson's argument is that the hand axe didn't destroy the human race, so artificial intelligence won't either.

What can we digital apes look forward to in the brave new artificial intelligence world where we are at peace with our smart machines?

This is a question Professor Sir Nigel has tackled before in conversation with the much lamented journalist, Steve Hewlett:
Just imagine a new world where you look out of the window and see the blue flashing lights, and then someone flies through the door and says "we're here to prevent you from having a heart attack".

Saturday, 1 September 2018

The Sham ID, called 'Aadhaar': Hoax of the Century

The Sham ID, called 'Aadhaar': Hoax of the Century
by Mathew Thomas

"Achche din is finally here", says the condemned man on the front cover of Mathew Thomas's book.

"Achhe din aane waale hain" was the campaign slogan of Narendra Modi's BJP party in India's 2014 election, "happy days are coming".

For years Mr Modi had opposed Aadhaar. Bad news. That's while he was in opposition. Then he became Prime Minister and now he's a fan. Happy days are here again.

"Stop! He has no Aadhaar card", says the lawyer on the front cover of Mathew Thomas's book.

The funny thing is, no-one does. There is no such thing as an Aadhaar card. Aadhaar cards are part of the extraordinary Indian delusion that is the subject of Mr Thomas's book.

UIDAI, the Unique Identification Authority of India, the people in charge of Aadhaar, have pulled off "the hoax of the century". Not only are there no Aadhaar cards, there is no unique identification either.

Aadhaar doesn't work. One big broken promise, it was meant to help the poor to claim state benefits and it doesn't. It can't.

Saturday, 2 June 2018

Thursday, 24 May 2018

Understanding the ethos and ethics of identity in public services

Last Friday 18 May 2018 was the Think.Digital Identity for government conference. The following speech was prepared but not delivered:

It's been 17 years since we've seen any progress
in identity
in on-line public services in the UK.
The U-bend is blocked.
And it’s our job as the plumbers here at this conference today
to see if we can unblock it.

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

RIP IDA – "Reality bites"

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.

"If Verify is the answer, what was the question?"

The Law Commission: "Verify does not currently ensure that the person entering the information
is in fact the person he or she is purporting to be;
rather it focuses on verifying that the person exists" (para.6.67/p.119)

Finally.

At their annual jamboree, Sprint 18, on Thursday 10 May 2018 the Government Digital Service (GDS) finally signed the GOV.UK Verify (RIP) death certificate.

"Reality bites", said Nic Harrison, GDS's director of service design and assurance, "we are, frankly, just not going to get hundreds of new services being digitised in the next year to bring on Verify".

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

RIP IDA – OIX to the rescue 3

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.

The Law Commission: "Verify does not currently ensure that the person entering the information
is in fact the person he or she is purporting to be;
rather it focuses on verifying that the person exists" (para.6.67/p.119)

14 June 2012, we discovered that the Government Digital Service (GDS) had joined the Open Identity Exchange (OIX) in order to help with their moribund identity assurance programme now known as "GOV.UK Verify (RIP)".

19 April 2018, OIX published Digital Identity in the UK: The cost of doing nothing, a report by Innovate Identity, a consultancy which predictably enough attempts to convince the reader that the benefits of a national digital identity scheme are so great that it doesn't matter what it costs to develop.

Does that report help GDS?

Monday, 7 May 2018

RIP IDA – Windrush & ID cards

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.

"If Verify is the answer, what was the question?"

The Law Commission: "Verify does not currently ensure that the person entering the information
is in fact the person he or she is purporting to be;
rather it focuses on verifying that the person exists" (para.6.67/p.119)

4 May 2018 Windrush scandal: no passport for thousands who moved to Britain. That article and hundreds more like it describe the outrageous Windrush generation problem we have in the UK. Home Office officials are threatening some of these British citizens from overseas with deportation. Some of them have lost their jobs. Some their rented homes. Others have been denied the free state healthcare which they are entitled to.

Sunday, 29 April 2018

Digital Transformation at Scale: Why the Strategy Is Delivery

At last Messrs Andrew Greenway, Ben Terrett, Mike Bracken and Tom Loosemore have delivered a book about digital transformation. Yours for £14.99, it's published tomorrow: "This book ... explains how a growing band of reformers in businesses and governments around the world have helped their organisations pivot to this new way of working, and what lessons others can learn from their experience".

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

GDS & the banshees 4 – in defence of silos


The system is not set up to do stuff.
It’s set up, frankly,
to have an intellectual pissing match
around how its things should be.


Easter 2018 will be remembered briefly for the epic querulous caterwauling of the banshees when data was taken away from GDS and given to DCMS.

The passionate tweet alongside was emitted in response to a 29 March 2018 announcement on the machinery of government by the Prime Minister: "This written statement confirms that the data policy and governance functions of the Government Digital Service (GDS) will transfer from the Cabinet Office to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). The transfer includes responsibility for data sharing (including coordination of Part 5 of the Digital Economy Act 2017), data ethics, open data and data governance".

No surprises there:
  • The Department for Culture Media and Sport changed its name to "The Department for Digital Culture Media and Sport" back in July 2017.
  • 18 months before that, in December 2015, DCMS issued a consultation document on the UK's digital economy making it clear that it was in their remit and not GDS's.

Friday, 23 February 2018

Untitled 4


Thursday, 18 January 2018

Making a difference

We volunteer because we want to make a difference - HMRC digital
The difference maker
We’re delivering reform – and starting to make a difference
Design that Makes a Difference exhibition
Teachers dedicated to making a difference

That's the first five hits returned by a Google search just now for "making a difference". We could go on. For some time. There are about 1,775 more hits where those five came from.

That's if you restrict your search to just UK government blogs, blog.gov.uk. Extend the search to the whole gov.uk domain, and Google gets 6.72 million hits. The civil service is clearly fascinated by making a difference.

Take the brake off, search across all domains, and Google offers you 320 million articles to read.

Making a difference is a big subject.

Too big to tackle in its entirety.