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Identity verification in the UK

2014-11-02 23:30
Identity verification in the UK

A little while ago I spoke to an American security officer involved in the US government online identity schemes. He seemed to think that the UK’s Verify system showed promise that could be emulated elsewhere.

The Rt Hon Francis Maude MP

The Rt Hon Francis Maude MP

The Rt Hon Francis Maude MP (Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General) described Verify in a speech at the Payments Council cyber security seminar last week.

The more we spend our life online, the more important it becomes that someone signing in to use a service is who they say they are. Until now, we’ve had to rely on offline methods, or on digital systems that that don’t give a high enough level of confidence for modern, sophisticated services.

That’s why we’re developing GOV.UK Verify. For the first time it will allow people to prove their identity in an entirely digitally [sic] way. And it will allow government – and eventually private sector services too – to trust that a user is who they say they are.
Francis Maude speech at Payments Council cyber security seminar

The UK government (of any flavour) does not have a good record with new IT systems. So how fares this one — the beta went live last week? One of the first areas of use is DEFRA’s Common Agricultural Policy Information Service. This is a sample response from Verify’s clientele:

verifyI was not able to register as Experian could not verify my identity…??

This couldnt be more complicated if you tried we are farmers not computer experts!

clicking on identityassurance.blog.gov.uk wont open as “insecure”.This doesnt give me much confidence in the rest of it.

I was not able to register as Experian could not verify my identity ??

I was also unable to register as the Experian identity verification process couldn’t be completed. They seem to think I have credit card numbers which I do not have. I have discussed this on the phone with them and have been unable to resolve this.

Like many others I have had difficulties trying to verify my identity. The amount of information needed seems a little excessive, especially considering I can access bank accounts and leave the country with less than is needed here.

An absolute waste of time! I’ve now been through the process three times (an hour and a half) and Experian still can’t verify my identity. They want details of a credit card that I dont have

I have been unable to register with Experian as they claim we have a credit card which we do not have. The first time I tried, I called Experian and the outcome of 30 minutes on the telephone was the implication that they were right and I was wrong… What I fail to understand is that, having got a UK passport – used worldwide to verify my identity, a UK driving licence – used by Police to verify my identity, a PI No., an SBI No., a Holding No., and a Vendor No. as well as a Government gateway sign in, all of which was perfectly acceptable in the past, and was earlier today when I signed in to HMRC to pay my VAT, none of the above are good enough anymore.

I have been unable to register as the Experian identity service asked me to verify the card provider of a card I do not have.

I have endeavoured to verify my identity FOUR times with Experian, wasting hours in the process. Each time I have been unsuccessful I have contacted Experian’s helpline, who then cleared my account and asked me to try again. FINALLY, today, I have established that despite living at my address for 24 years, paying taxes and all my other bills, I do not have a “Credit Footprint” to verify my existence and this is why I am not succeeding!

This is a very typical government project set up and run by people with no real experience of “how life really works”. There isn’t any question about identification and/or verification that would lead to Experian being the right answer. It is also clear that whoever ‘designed’ this system did not understand the problem to be solved at all other than the need to either reduce costs or make sure the ‘old pals’get their reward!

These, you might say, are just typical teething problems in any new project. Well, some of them clearly are; and I’m willing to give the government coders the benefit of the doubt that they will in fact be able to solve the technical problems.

But what of the structural problems? One of the things that really bothers me is the number of times in this very small sample that Experian’s records are wrong. This is a company that has our creditworthiness by the short and curlies — and it gets it wrong.


Source: /ku-eht-ni-noitacifirev-ytitnedi/11/4102/ku.oc.ytirucesti

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