EU e-Privacy Directive

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The good news (as I understand it) is that you will be able to "seamlessly" identify yourself to the government (or any of its many agencies) on-line, all without quoting your Id number.

The bad news?

(7 minutes)


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The government's digital id proposals (or "UK Digital Identity and Attributes Trust Framework beta version (0.3) updated 11th January 2023" as we should properly entitle them) are announced by Julia Lopez MP, Minister of State for Media, Data, and Digital Infrastructure at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport, and a very fine front-person for the Civil Servants responsible for this confection she does make.

Of course, nobody must be left behind in the race to access government services digitally, so the government has drawn up guidelines to ensure that as many "certified digital identity service providers" as may be necessary may be configured to complete digital identity checks for "the Right to Work, Right to Rent, and DBS schemes ... "

"This development will align with the Disclosure and Barring Service’s (DBS) proposal to enable digital identity checking within their criminal record checking process".

Along with the identity service providers, there will also be attribute service providers, and orchestration service providers, all playing their allotted roles within this intricate tapestry of conceptual identity determination.

Sounds as though there may be quite a few individual contracts for the private sector to set up all these certified service providers, but no doubt the government will have learned from the Covid procurement problems and has thought through all of that.

Of course there will be Luddites and nay-sayers who deny the immense benefits that such a scheme can bring, and see only the scope for life-and-sanity-denying problems that may arise when these certified intermediaries fail to connect an applicant with the correct digital identity, leading to a trail of wrong decisions and invalid events recorded against the wrong person; but given the government's track-record in handling digital projects at scale I'm sure that the civil servants have thought of everything, and such doubts will be proven groundless in short order.

Nevertheless the government is keen to involve the public and has published a Consultation on Draft Legislation to Support Identity Verification - running from 4 January 2023 to 1 March 2023:

"The organisations affected by this consultation are public authorities in England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland  and/or other government departments, arm’s length bodies, non-departmental public bodies or other organisations who may consider they could be affected by the draft regulations ...  Responses are welcome from anyone with an interest in or views on the subject covered by this consultation."

"The legislation will take effect from 6 April 2022"

The sharp-eyed may note that we are now in 2023, and I'm not clear whether the scheme has already been in limited operation since April 2022, or has been subject to delays.

As a final thought, the government has clearly considered the implications for GDPR compliance and the Trusts Frameworks beta version goes to some lengths to ensure that applicants for certified digital identity service providers are aware of their (not inconsiderable) responsibilities under the UK's GDPR. Of course, holding them to account for these responsibilities may not be a simple matter.

Over to you.