Data embassies, data trusts, the state as a commodity, census mistrust, GOV.UK Verify, licences, identity systems without privacy laws
Two things I've been thinking a lot about over the past few weeks are 1) public oversight, and how the role of elected officials and civil servants will change as the timeframes for developing new services get shorter than the legislative process; 2) how can the debate about privacy and identity, be shifted to "when, how and with what oversight/technical constraints data gets joined together"? Some of the examples below talk to those ideas. If you have thoughts on either, please get in touch.
🇪🇪Estonian CIO, Siim Sikkut, has said the country will focus on designing service around 15 life events. Is this Estonia working it's way up the stack? To date, Estonia's approach could be characterised as a 'registry-layer up' approach as compared with the 'service-layer down' approach of the UK. He also talks about how Estonia plans to backup data and keep providing digital services in face of an attack. The solution: declare a rack in a data center in Luxembourg an Estonian embassy with all the protections of the Vienna Convention.
🇬🇧The source code for GOV.UK Verify has been released under an MIT licence. Will the UK follow the approach it has taken with its procurement platform and actively encourage take-up by other countries? Verify could provide a federated alternative to the centralised models of Aadhaar and Estonian e-Identity that seem to have captured the most mindshare around the world. With Brexit imminent, the UK should have an interest in investing in technology that makes interoperability with other countries easier. To do that with Verify, it will need a team dedicated to it's continued development as an open-source project.
🇺🇸 Cambridge City Council (the Massachusetts one) has voted to require council approval of all new 'surveillance technology' by city agencies and police. The definition of surveillance technology is detailed here. While it doesn't extend to use of data from all public services, this is the type of public oversight that digital infrastructure will need to be operated in the public interest.
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