WRITTEN ON May 13th, 2005 BY William Heath AND STORED IN Foundation of Trust, Ideal Goverment - project, Identity, What do we want?

What do we want from identity systems? Wouldn’t it be better if…?

The Home Office is to reintroduce its idea of an ID system to underpin the sort of world it wants. Some are in favour. Some raise principled objections. Some are too angry to be coherent. There’s a major political row brewing. But very few people can really get their heads aroud it.

Some people, who like political rows, will say – bring it on.

This is an appeal to people who:

· don’t care for political rows
· are hardcore in their desire to live in an intelligently e-enabled world, built on a foundation of trust
· insist on good public safety measures but reject needless authoritarianism
· insist on respect for human rights and dignity
· hate to see money wasted (whether through incompetence or deliberate fraud)
· and want good, convenient and common-sense public services.

If that’s you, welcome to this on-line brainstorm about what we want from identity systems for an e-enabled world.

Here at Ideal Government ethnographers of bureaucracy come together to say what they want in e-enabled public services. This input can support the LSE’s project with an on-line debate as the Identity Project prepares its final report. We welcome your comments on the LSE interim report which you can find here.

Enterprise Privacy Group (EPG) has already conducted for the LSE a series of expert workshops involving a substantial number of private and public sector organisations. This discussion should build on their recommendations for a more focused, secure and citizen-centred ID system. What EPG and the LSE team needs at this eleventh hour is not a reopening of discussions of principle, but focussed and substantial advice on how best to improve the government’s proposals.

All welcome. Ususal rules apply. Anyone can apply for author password – just mail me. Anyone can comment. Anything offensive or actionable is taken down. We have a couple of weeks perhaps to state our case.

Contrary to what Baroness Scotland has said, there has not been an effective consultation and debate. A few cosy discussion between a partially-informed buyer and a few willing suppliers is no substitute for intelligent engagement between people who really understand the issues in which they are respectively expert.

The LSE Identity Project is an essential contribution to setting out a user requirement of what we want from e-enabled government. Identity systems will produce a big bang in the e-enabled world. Let’s make sure we get the fireworks right.

William Heath
Moderator, Ideal Government

5 Responses to “LSE Identity Project: join the final-stage online brainstorm”

Phil Booth wrote on May 13th, 2005 7:54 pm :

Thanks for the invite, William. Where is the brainstorm to take place? In the comments, or should I apply to be an author?

Kablenet wrote on May 14th, 2005 12:26 am :

Phil – I’ll email you an author name and password. Anyone else who wants, just email me and I’ll do the same. – W

Watching Them, Watching Us wrote on May 14th, 2005 12:33 am :

Can you not get rid of the wretched “Captcha” on these comments ?

Apart from not being in the spirit of the Disability Discrimination Act, it simply does not work for me via Firefox, rather than MSIE web browser.

Iang wrote on May 21st, 2005 4:00 pm :

I’m not one in your list, but otherwise interested.

The progress of the identity cards seems a foregone conclusion. The US just signed in the Identity Card by slipping it into an undebateable bill. This has been predicted by the many attempts for many years, and this time they got one through. Exactly the same process is happening in the UK, and one day they will get one through.

The question for Brits does not seem if but when and how. Is the Identity Card story to be like that in the US? A botched mess that serves no purpose and can’t even survive scrutiny in its first month after signing? This is not to say that it won’t go ahead, but it looks like very fertile territory for security blunders.

Or is it to be like those in Europe, where they do not have a history of rampant privacy breaches, insider thefts and crime surrounding the identity of their people? At least it appears that there are ways to do this identity token thing without the enourmous damage that the Americans seem wont to foster on their economy and people, if as seems likely it goes ahead in spite of a poor to non-existant case for benefits.

William Heath wrote on May 21st, 2005 7:55 pm :

The captcha’s there because I don’t want to deal manually with endless spambot comments.

Is it discriminatory? RNIB advice (thanks Ruth) is –

“It is good practice to provide an alternative to the visual “captcha” mechanism, not just for blind people but also those who have difficulty reading text with poor contrast, or with literacy/reading/dyslexia/language. Various organisations (Microsoft, Yahoo) have come up with different solutions, e.g. phoning a freephone number (but needs to be 24/7) or playing a sound clip with the word pronounced and spelled out clearly.”

So in an ideal world there wd be an alternative as well, but for now there isnt and it stays. For now, if anyone visually impaired wishes to comment and finds the captcha an obstacle, they’d better email me.

The Firefox issue is a pain – sorry about that – I had to revert to Mozilla.