[Jane Adams]The final panel session of the afternoon of day one was entitled ‘Fantasy National ID’. Panelist were invited to describe their perfect national identity system (without any negative comments about existing or proposed real life systems).

Phil Willis MP, chair of the House of Commons Select Committee on Science and Technology, described a collection of databases, rather than one all encompassing database, storing biometric data and a single identifying number that changed on a regular basis. Users retained control over where and when information was released and had a means of redress if any abuse occurred. Police however had rapid access rights but the register was held and managed by a neutral third party.

John Elliott of Consult Hyperion’s system featured flexible form factors and contactless technology. It worked offline and was interoperable cross border.

Guy Herbert of No2ID said that we already have everything we need. He wanted to achieve economy in the identity transaction by using the existing economic system which already features digital signatures. He envisioned chains of trust with agents vouching for each other, rather than a triangle of authority with a third party as arbiter. He saw the government as only the trustee of last resort, underwriting the system but not controlling it.

Jerry Fishenden of Microsoft proposed a citizen centric system with digital rights protection that complied with the 7 Laws. Citizens control who can look at what data and how many times and know who is looking at their data.

Cath Rawcliffe of ACI described a system that gave individuals the choice of who they trusted for registration and other aspects of identity management and envoked the possibility of Tesco branded identity cards for those who chose Tesco over the government for example. The information displayed by the card and system changed according to what was needed for the identification occasion.

At the end, delegates were asked to vote on the best system. Microsoft won, but only narrowly beat ACI.

1 comment

  1. I think that one of the reasons that Jerry’s ideas attracted audience approval was the idea of DRM in this context. I’m not entirely sure how it might work, but the concept of giving your personal data to someone for a particular purpose and having it expire after a while, all enforced by some kind of DRM, seemed popular — and it was quite a well-informed audience, remember.

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