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Scottish Government emphasizes security of new platform for digital public services

Scottish Government emphasizes security of new platform for digital public services

Scotland is talking up the data security measures designed and build into ScotAccount, a single-sign on (SSO) service designed to streamline access to public services online. Laurie Brown, the digital information security officer for the Scottish Government, is spearheading efforts to provide strategic direction and governance for various digital public services, following the return of Scotland’s digital identity service.

According to a recent blog post, the ScotAccount digital identity service is intended to simplify the process of accessing public services by allowing users to sign in to multiple services with a single account. This system facilitates ease of use, and provides an option to verify and store personal information securely, which can be reused when applying for other services.

Brown’s strategy is built on three principles: privacy by design and default, security by design and default, and usability by design and default. The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) offers guidance to ScotAccount users, akin to the security practices required for banking, email, shopping, or social media.

The approach entails implementing both proactive and reactive security measures to safeguard information against cyber-attacks. This includes adhering to NCSC’s risk management guidance and establishing robust security governance and assurance protocols.

The ScotAccount platform follows Brown’s methodology for her security by design and default principle. The methodology, additionally, aligns with the UK’s Secure by Design Framework, embedding security measures and reactive capabilities in the service’s delivery and operation. The aim is to meet the public’s expectations for secure and private interactions with government services.

As ScotAccount approaches the final stages of its Beta phase, the blog post notes that the focus on “extrinsic assurance” — as per the NCSC model – is set to amplify. This involves external compliance and certification assessments, including the UK Government’s GovAssure scheme.

Additionally, ScotAccount is exploring compliance with the UK’s digital identity and attributes trust framework, potentially paving the way for future interoperability with the GOV.UK One Login service.

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