Barclays Will ‘Help’ You Prove Your Identity to UK Gov’t

Barclays has launched a new service to allow users to access UK online government services under a single ID. Meanwhile, some are already criticizing the online governance program for its requirements, saying that pseudo-anonymous services hold the edge in the long term. 

Also read: Barclays: ‘Blockchain Could Be the Most Significant Innovation to Impact Africa in 100 years’

Online Governance: ‘Quick and Secure’

Barclays joins the existing eight companies the government currently permits to handle sensitive user information and access security credentials for citizens.

Barclays Identity Service requires a UK passport, driving license and bank account. Once submitted, Barclays cross-references the data with “third party sources,” Finextra.com reports, before issuing a single username and password for users to access a variety of government services.

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The resulting so-called “digital profile” means the citizen can perform actions such as viewing a driver’s license or filing tax paperwork, or any information supported by GOV.UK Verify websites, the program in which Barclays is partaking.

Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude said about Verify last year:

We are making it easier for everyone to prove their identity online without building a single database or reintroducing an illiberal ID card scheme. Our online verification scheme empowers citizens to select the provider they want to manage and prove their identity.

Barclays maintains the aim of the considerable exchange of personal credentials is ultimately to simplify the login process and information access for citizens themselves.

“The Barclays Identity Service will help those looking to access government services […] to register an account without completing long forms or lengthy paperwork or even leaving the house; and then log in through a quick and secure process,” the bank’s head of information Peter Simon said.

…Yet Obsolete?

However, given the increasing availability of alternative government data handling options, large-scale information sharing is no longer without its criticism.

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Susanne Tarkowsi Tempelhof

Susanne Tarkowsi Tempelhof, founder of blockchain governance startup Bitnation, told Bitcoin.com it is only a matter of time before such systems are already obsolete.

“Because governments are becoming more and more dystopian in their monitoring […] communication encryption is becoming mainstream in chat applications,” she said. “Pseudo-anonymity will be the only acceptable option going forward, and systems who don’t adopt it will be left behind (like banks, etc).”

She added:

I can see how their ID system will make their services more efficient in the short-term, but in the long-term I think only pseudo anonymous reputation based systems will win out.

Barclays has meanwhile had a busy month, having become the first British bank to offer payments via Twitter via its own payments app Pingit. The service, available to any UK bank account holder, was launched March 10 to the country’s 13.5 million Twitter users.

The bank has also been actively researching Blockchain technology as part of the R3 consortium. Last July, it published a report on the potential for blockchain technology to be injected into existing financial frameworks.

What do you think about online governance? Will pseudo-anonymity have the edge? Let us know in the comments sections below! 


Images courtesy of identityassurance.blog.gov.uk, theweek.co.uk