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URGENT: Digital ID Consultation

Respond by 1 Mar to Government's new “Consultation on draft legislation to support identify verification.” Here's how (and why):

The WHY

Together was first formed in response to what arguably amounted to an attempt to force mandatory Digital ID on the public, in the shape of “Covid Pass.”

In this area, the Government’s new “Consultation on draft legislation to support identify verification” may sound reassuringly boring – but in fact what is proposed appears to pose huge, unnecessary risks to citizens, even down to kids as young as 13.

For background, video blogger Richard Vobes has a good overview (video to the right and also here), and this article is also good for getting an idea of some key issues. 

This “consultation” has barely been publicised, and the time to complete it is extremely short – both of which are rather alarming.

This consultation closes SOON… so please take action TODAY… our guidance is below…

The HOW

There are TWO ways to respond, please do BOTH!

Way 1: Respond by email

 

STEP 1: OPEN UP A BLANK EMAIL, USING CORRECT SUBJECT LINE

Important – this BELOW is the SUBJECT LINE you must use, please COPY & PASTE IT:

Response to the consultation on the data sharing for identity verification services

 

STEP 2: THEN USE THIS EMAIL ADDRESS:

dea-data-sharing@digital.cabinet-office.gov.uk

 

STEP 3: WRITE YOUR OWN MESSAGE (always best if you can do this), OR USE / ADAPT OURS BELOW (include your name and address at the end)

I totally reject the proposed “legislation to support digital identity verification.” It appears to be a gross intrusion into the privacy of the individual, and a monumental security and safety risk that would endanger members of the public right down to children as young as 13.

It sounds as though all Government departments, Local Authorities and even schools would be sharing highly personal information on citizens – including data as sensitive as income, photos and email addresses.

All this would then potentially be accessible to almost anyone working for the state AND “any organisation” working WITH Government. Can this possibly be true?

Data sharing of personal, sensitive data will open us up to abuse and discrimination.

Do you think it appropriate to run a public ‘consultation’ on what would represent a radical change in the way citizens control how their data may be used by the state, that almost no-one knows about, and lasting just 8 weeks?

Do you really intend for this to be imposed – with little if any Parliamentary scrutiny – by December?

Government has an appalling record of large scale IT projects and data security. Ministers also repeatedly denied “Covid passes” would be introduced, before they were, so distrust has been earned. In Scotland, the Information Commissioner’s Office even found the scheme introduced there broke the law.

This proposal puts the public at risk and leads to greater surveillance, unnecessary monitoring and huge potential to be used in an authoritarian way by the state.

This appears to be legislation that comes with enormous risks to the safety not only of adult citizens but of children as young as 13. It should be scrapped.

 

STEP 4: POST THE FOLLOWING ON SOCIAL MEDIA
(ALSO TAG YOUR MP AT THE END IF POSSIBLE, SO THEY HEAR ABOUT THIS)

Govt’s “Consultation” around ID verification creates huge concerns

Do we want income, photos & email addresses of citizens down to age 13, sharable with anyone who works for Govt & “any organisation” working WITH Govt?

No we do not @alexburghart @cabinetofficeuk

Don’t know how to tag your MP? Here’s how to do it on Twitter and on Facebook.

Way 2: Respond via online questionnaire

The questionnaire seems constructed in such a way as to encourage us to agree with the premise that centralised data sharing is a good thing.

Keep this in mind as your go through answering the questions.

At each stage you will usually see a multiple-choice option, plus a text box to explain why you have chosen that option.

For each question we will suggest which multiple choice option we think most appropriate

 

STEP 1: OPEN UP THE CONSULTATION RESPONSE PAGE

Click HERE to open the page (opens in new window).

Then click NEXT PAGE twice to get to Page 3, where the survey questions begin

 

STEP 2: COMPLETE THE SURVEY USING OUR GUIDE

Question 1. Name (optional)

Question 2. Email (optional)

Complete these or don’t – up to you – but responses with name and email may possibly be taken more seriously.

Question 3. Are you responding on behalf of an organisation or an individual?

Select INDIVIDUAL and in the box below write n/a

Question 4. If you are responding on behalf of an organisation, please specify the sector/type? Please select non-applicable from the drop-down menu if you are not responding on behalf of an organisation.

Select NON-APPLICABLE

Click NEXT PAGE

Questions 5, 6, 7

For ALL THREE of these, select NEITHER AGREE NOR DISAGREE

Then in each text box, write your own comments or use or adapt our samples below:

I do not agree with the sharing of my data across Government Departments and/or with third party organisations. I regard it as an insidious first step towards increased surveillance and potential restrictions of civil liberties through a centralised ID gateway. It is a slippery slope Government has no business putting us all on.

I do not agree with the sharing of my data across Government Departments and/or with third party organisations. The state has never held more data about individuals, yet public services are arguably worse value for money than ever. If any system is needed, it should be decentralised to let the individual decide who they wish to share data with.

I don’t agree with the sharing of my data across Government Departments and/or with third party organisations. It appears to be an enormous and frankly reckless security and privacy risk for little to no benefit.

Click NEXT PAGE

Question 8. To what extent do you agree that the following government departments…

Select STRONGLY DISAGREE for all four Government departments listed

In the box below, give your reasons, such as:

I do not want any government department sharing citizen data any more than they already do. I don’t believe they can be trusted with it, and history shows this lack of trust justified. In particular, the Cabinet Office has just been implicated in the scandal around spying on British citizens’ social media usage – why on Earth would we trust it with greater power to share our data? Government has lost enormous trust over the last 3 years, an impression that sadly is reinforced by the lack of publicity, unbelievably short time for completion, and seemingly ‘loaded’ questions within this consultation.

Question 9. To what extent do you agree that the following government departments…

Select STRONGLY DISAGREE for all four Government departments listed

In the box below, give your reasons, such as:

The Cabinet Office, Department for Transport, Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs and Disclosure and Barring Service should not be able to share our data for any reason. Doing so simply increases the risk of widespread data breaches, for which Government and public bodies have an appalling track record. Seemingly this proposed ‘ID verification’ system would be open to kids as young as 13. It makes the blood run cold to imagine that information as sensitive as their personal email addresses, postal addresses, photographs and more would effectively be collected on one big central database, accessible to any number of people. The Government continually claims nothing is more important than child safety, yet here it is actively creating new risks of gigantic proportions – and for what?

Question 10. Are there any other public bodies not proposed in this consultation…

Select NO

In the box below, give your reasons, such as:

People in the UK should have more privacy and control over their own data, not less. As sure as night follows day, the more data is shared by Government departments, the more our data will be compromised and abused, at enormous risk and cost to individual members of the public. This is unacceptable.

Click NEXT PAGE

Question 11. To what extent do you agree that the data items, known as data attributes…

Select STRONGLY DISAGREE 

In the box below, give your reasons, such as:

I do not agree that any departments should be able to share any of my attributes without my direct and explicit consent. This entire proposal is frightening in the variety of information on an individual that is proposed to be collected and shared.

Click NEXT PAGE

Question 12. To what extent do you consider the proposed sharing of data for the identity verification objective will lead to any individual and/or household losing any benefit?

Select STRONGLY AGREE 

In the box below, give your reasons, such as:

The proposal would seem absolutely guaranteed to create situations where employees of government end up making subjective decisions based on their own prejudices and biases, whether conscious or unconscious, that result in individuals and households losing benefits. As well as being unjust, it is easy to imagine this creating legal liability and expensive court cases, which of course would have to be funded by the taxpayer. So who actually benefits from this proposal? This may be a nice juicy project for large IT businesses and firms of management consultants, but do the public benefit? Who is asking for this and what motivates it?

Question 13. To what extent do you consider the proposed sharing of data for the identity verification objective will lead to an individual or household losing access to a service?

Select STRONGLY AGREE 

In the box below, give your reasons, such as:

As above, the proposal would seem tailor-made to create situations every single day where employees of government end up making subjective decisions based on their own prejudices and biases, whether conscious or unconscious, that result in individuals and households losing services, and we can expect this will affect the least well-off in society the worst.

Question 14. Do you think the proposed sharing of data for the identity verification objective will negatively impact on…

Select YES 

In the box below, give your reasons, such as:

Of course it will. It is guaranteed to, because you will end up with employees of government making subjective decisions based on the data they have seen about an individual and how this conforms or conflicts with their own prejudices and biases, conscious or unconscious.

Click NEXT PAGE

Question 15: Do you have further comments on this proposed objective?

In the box, provide any further comments. We wrote:

I absolutely reject the proposed “legislation to support digital identity verification.” It appears to be a gross intrusion into the privacy of the individual, and a monumental security and safety risk that would endanger members of the public right down to children as young as 13.

It sounds as though all Government departments, Local Authorities and even schools would be sharing highly personal information on citizens – including data as sensitive as income, photos and email addresses.

All this would then potentially be accessible to almost anyone working for the state AND “any organisation” working WITH Government. Can this possibly be true?

Data sharing of personal, sensitive data will open us up to abuse and discrimination.

Do you think it appropriate to run a public ‘consultation’ on what would represent a radical change in the way citizens control how their data may be used by the state, that almost no-one knows about, and lasting just 8 weeks?

Do you really intend for this to be imposed – with little if any Parliamentary scrutiny – by December?

Government has an appalling record of large scale IT projects and data security. Ministers also repeatedly denied “Covid passes” would be introduced, before they were, so distrust has been earned. In Scotland, the Information Commissioner’s Office even found the scheme introduced there broke the law.

This proposal puts the public at risk and leads to greater surveillance, unnecessary monitoring and huge potential to be used in an authoritarian way by the state.

This appears to be legislation that comes with enormous risks to the safety not only of adult citizens but of children as young as 13. It should be scrapped.

Click NEXT PAGE

Question 16. Please indicate whether you are happy for the relevant points and comments you have made to be published in the consultation summary report

Pick ANY ONE you like and click FINISH SURVEY

THAT’S IT! ALL DONE!

Thank you and please ensure you are signed up to get all Together’s updates HERE: