Online Identity Assurance

December 6, 2017 by 2 Comments

The Scottish Government’s Digital Strategy contains the commitment to work with stakeholders, privacy interests and members of the public to develop a robust, secure and trustworthy mechanism by which an individual member of the public can demonstrate their identity online, to access public sector digital services.

This important work is now up and running and today the Online Identity Assurance project team is pleased to share our Programme Plan, which is our plan of necessary actions to develop a common public sector approach to online identity assurance.

Over coming months – in the spirit and practice of open government – we will work closely with all stakeholders, including interest groups and members of the public, as we seek to achieve the objectives set out in our plan. We’d love to hear your feedback and views on the content of the Plan, as we continue to shape the programme over the coming weeks and months. Dialogue is at the heart of our approach and we look forward to having valuable conversations that will shape this work.

Have a read through our plan, keep following the blog for further updates and get in touch or comment below if you want to share any initial thoughts.

Blog by Ross Clark, Scottish Government, Online Identity Assurance Project Team

  • The Programme Plan was amended on 07 December to reflect an update to the membership of the Programme Board.


  • Malin Freeborn says:

    This is really horrifying, and poor intentions show through at every turn of the document.

    The primary group the Scottish government are concerned with is ‘stakeholders’, i.e. servicing the wishes of businesses.

    The secondary group is ‘privacy interests’, which is not a group, nor a person, but an abstraction. It’s still worth noting that making services which identify people in order to protect their privacy warrants explanation; it sounds like using MacDonald’s to promote healthy living.

    In last place, the tertiary group the Scottish government claim to worry about is ‘members of the public’.

    Members of the public are not pushing to have their identity mandated. When identity is required for transferring money or Reddit’s AMA’s, people have found it trivially easy to confirm their identity.

    The rest of the time people on-line are interacting with people they know – so no identity assurances are required – or people they don’t know – so no identity assurances are useful.

    Throughout this process, we’re assured that the government will be acting ‘in the spirit of open government’ but the ongoing communication will be with ‘Ministers, Special Advisers, Stakeholders, and Partners’. That’s fine for a company’s board room. It’s not fine for a government.

    Some time into the project we are told under the second bullet point of ‘Discovery Project’ that the project, once it’s already underway, can ‘identify the problem that an online assurance solution might address’.

    Let’s look at that again – after the project is underway, some group of people will try to understand why it might be useful. But let me be fairer to the document – some group of people will try to identify why it “might” be useful.

    • Ross Clark says:

      Hi Malin, thanks for your feedback. With regard to stakeholders, we are developing a significant process of stakeholder engagement which will shape the development of this project. In our plan, we’ve highlighted several initial groups that we know are taking a close interest and expect to engage with more as this project progresses. Our door is very much open to all who want to get involved. Our plan also states that we are fully committed to developing a solution that is designed with and for members of the public as one of our objectives. Our stakeholder engagement work will seek to engage people in what are important discussions about how public sector digital services are delivered.

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