Category: privacy

  • Toxic by design

    Toxic by design

    Digital, data, and technology (DDaT) are increasingly being misused to create a 24×7 surveillance society, behavioural manipulation and, in some countries, institutional discrimination and subjugation. This surveillance increasingly underpins private sector revenue and state control, online and offline. All too often, it can seem like there’s little to distinguish between governments and global businesses as they indulge in…

  • “Tap to pay” becomes “Tap to prove” …?

    “Tap to pay” becomes “Tap to prove” …?

    As expected, Apple has announced that merchants (US-based only at first) will be able to accept Apple Pay and other contactless payments using only an iPhone and appropriate app. Apple has clearly made good progress integrating the technology it acquired with the $100m purchase of Mobeewave in 2020. This will be a significant disruption for point…

  • Back to the past with government identity

    Back to the past with government identity

    The Government Digital Service (GDS) has a generous £400m budget to develop “One Login”, a single sign-on and digital identity system for government services. But it comes with a nagging sense of déjà vu: although billed as a fresh approach, it’s remarkably similar to the solution implemented in 2001 by an earlier Cabinet Office team at a cost…

  • UK Government Platforms | Revisited

    UK Government Platforms | Revisited

    The UK Government was a platform pioneer. It was amongst the first to understand the potential of platforms in the design and delivery of public services—to improve how public service providers and users could interact with each other. Early in the move to put public sector information and services online, the UK recognised that many…

  • UK Government single sign-in since 2001

    UK Government single sign-in since 2001

    Here’s my attempt at a very simplified slide summary of UK cross-government single sign-in since 2001: If you have any difficulties seeing the embedded Google Slides above, you can view the deck online here.

  • Social media, free speech and abuse

    Social media, free speech and abuse

    Social media is back in the news for all the usual negative reasons: hateful, racist, sexist, fraudulent and otherwise abusive users. None of which is surprising or new. For well over a decade, ideas about how best to tackle online abuse have been repeatedly explored, and then generally left to rot on the shelf. As…

  • UK cross-government platforms, 2003 edition

    UK cross-government platforms, 2003 edition

    While reviewing and updating my Digital Government Archives, I came across some old slide decks from the days of the eDelivery Team (the Government Digital Service of its day). Several of the slides jumped out at me for the way they placed users at the centre of their design, and in particular the way they…

  • International Standards and Digital Identity

    International Standards and Digital Identity

    So-called ‘digital transformation’ can often involve little more than moving things from paper onto a screen or automating the way things are already done, aiming to optimise them or reduce costs. Nothing wrong with that in itself of course, but it’s not really ‘transformational’ in any real meaning of the word, more about efficiency and…

  • Maggots, rats and a fork in the road

    Maggots, rats and a fork in the road

    So what’s it going to be then, hey? Will the outcome of the Brexit negotiations see the UK forced to adhere to the EU’s “level playing field” rules, or free to set its own standards? The mood music is ominous, hinting that the UK could adopt lower standards in some Mad Max “race to the…

  • Online public services in the UK—23 years of federated identity

    Online public services in the UK—23 years of federated identity

    Here’s my paper providing an overview of Federated Identity for Access to UK Public Services: 1997-2020 (PDF): As its catchy title suggests, it provides an historic overview of the UK Government’s approach to federated identity over the past 23 years, segmenting the journey into three stages: It isn’t intended to be history for its own sake—it aims…

  • 21st century identity

    21st century identity

    My opinion piece for Computer Weekly – implementing a 21st century approach to digital identity – has been published this morning. It sets out a new, modern approach – one that embraces identity as a means of personal empowerment rather than state or corporate control. It looks at how the current trust model around identity…

  • Tortoise banks and uneven playing fields

    Tortoise banks and uneven playing fields

    Perhaps we had a lucky escape when banks declined to become online ‘identity providers’. After all, their track record in online security has some peculiar idiosyncrasies. Arguably they’ve made the problem of fraud greater than it should be by failing to create a consistent, secure customer experience. Obvious examples include the fraud caused by not…