Committee calls for national debate on UK single digital identifier plan for government services

Committee calls for national debate on UK single digital identifier plan for government services

British members of parliament have called for a national debate on the government’s plans to introduce a “single unique identifier” (SUI) for online access to government services, Sky News reports.

The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee published a report which suggests that “single unique identifiers for citizens can transform the efficiency and transparency of Government services,” but also saying the government should facilitate a national debate on the implementation, and the rights of citizens to know what the government is doing with their data. The 69-page report lists 13 cultural, technical, and institutional challenges to the proposed system among its conclusions and recommendations.

Privacy advocacy organization medConfidential told Sky News the direction set out by the report is welcome, but also that the system’s details are disturbing. “While the Home Office may treat UK residents like cattle, numbered and tracked, that’s not what is usually expected by parliament,” the group says.

The highly unpopular Identity Cards Act 2006 was repealed by the current UK government as one of its first acts. A medConfidential representative and several academics and IT professionals told Sky News that the SUI proposal is comparable to the repealed act.

The UK government recently began accepting mobile payments for government services authenticated with biometrics through Apple Pay and Google Pay.

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