Now that Verify has lost its head, will the corpse be decently buried?

With the departure of Janet Hughes have we seen the final victory of  David Moss and/or “common sense” (not very common among the digerati) and/or “the dinosaurs”: alias DWP, HMRC, the NHS and all those who want robust identities that are usable by most of the UK population?

If so what does the “victory” really mean?

Responding to public sentiment that lies behind the Brexit vote will require the government to implement robust processes for identifying who is entitled to be in the UK and/or to claim benefits and/or to claim free treatment on the NHS.  The  Pickles Review on Electoral Fraud indicates we also need robust processes for identifying who is entitled to vote, let alone to deter/detect those impersonating them.

I have on file consultation papers and submissions from Michael Howard’s “Entitlement Card” exercise onwards. In the course of looking at the practicalities of ID cards and registration systems I have looked at how the debate over whether the “state” or the “God” (alias the invisible hand of the market) controls identities goes back to the contrast between Sumeria and Egypt.  Meanwhile that on the use of  electronic identities goes back to early electronic telegraph with a test case in 1867.

Perhaps the time has finally come for Government to look at how the private sector handles identity and access management.

Since I served as specialist advisor to the Culture Media and Sport Select Committee Cybersecurity Enquiry  it has been interesting to learn how rapid, robust and easy-to-use the processes of some major players for detecting impersonation now are. Now we need public discussion on how best to not only spread good practice but penalise those who willfully ignore it.

I would like to think that are core part of that discussion will be how Government itself could and should identify and follow best practice.

The cost of not doing so has become too great.

It is not enough for HMRC and DWP to set their own houses in order.

We need to cut the cost of fraud and impersonation across the rest of the public sector – and to us all as individuals – as well.