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FCW : June 15, 2016
Beginning last month, British citizens can access tax, pension and driver’s licensing information through a single, secure identity service called GOV.UK Verify. The U.K. Post Office (the recently privatized Royal Mail) and a host of private companies — including credit bureau Experian, mobile pro- vider Verizon and Barclays bank — act as brokers for using existing secure credentials for governmental transactions. The shared-service credential model is expected to expand across U.K. departments to give people access to the full range of government functions. By contrast, U.S. efforts to provide Americans with a single credential to access govern- ment services can charitably be described as lagging. The IRS’ Get Transcript tool used knowledge-based secu- rity protocols to allow taxpayers to access their prior-year returns online. But a hack resulted in hundreds of thousands of records being compromised, and the agency shut it down. Officials plan to reboot the tool soon with tighter security features. Other agencies have their own use-specific logins but nothing like the overarching access offered by UK.GOV Verify. It’s not for lack of trying. Until recently, the National Strat- egy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace was the main locus of activity on this front. The effort, housed at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, gives grants to com- panies and nonprofit organizations to test the establishment of federated identities along the lines of what GOV.UK Verify has achieved, using a mix of commercial and official creden- tials to confirm individuals’ identities. Jeremy Grant, who used to lead NSTIC, told FCW that the U.K. has an advantage when comes to authority, resources and discipline. The country corralled all the agencies’ efforts into its shared-service model and shut down duplicative programs. “In the U.S., while the White House indicated that all agen- cies should use the shared service, there have not been any Britain takes digital ID out of beta as U.S. lags BY ADAM MAZMANIAN AND BIANCA SPINOSA The United Kingdom’s governmentwide digital identity platform, GOV.UK Verify, went live in late May. The U.S. government will need a little more time. June 15, 2016 FCW.COM 27 FirstMovers How GOV.UK Verify works 1. Users visit the GOV.UK Verify website and enter their personal information. Then they choose a certified company to validate their identities. 3. Once users’ identities have been verified, they can securely access government services online. 2. The company asks security questions to verify users’ identities. Users are also asked to enter a code that is received electronically (known as two-factor authentication). 0615fcw_027-028.indd 27 5/25/16 9:45 AM
May 30, 2016
June 30, 2016