The government has allocated £10 million to an identity assurance scheme that it says will make access to online public services more secure.
Speaking at a Technology Strategy Board conference last night, Francis Maude said that the government wants citizens to have a choice of private sector online identity assurance providers.
The new programme is different to the identity cards scheme, Maude said. "We think the government can be involved, must be involved, not as the big brother in this process, in the way that got associated with the identity cards agenda, but actually as a little brother, supporting, helping, providing some backup, and some lubrication from funding."
Maude said the government’s approach to that of the US government, but taking a more hands on approach. "My understanding is that their approach is more laissez-faire than ours," he said. "We think government can and must be involved, not as Big Brother in the way associated with ID cards. But as a little brother helping, supporting and providing lubrication with funding."
Some of the £10 million will be used to start a IDA programme team under Mike Bracken, the government’s director of digital, previously the digital director at the Guardian.
"We intend to work with the private sector and in Government to develop protocols, standards and cross-Government web services rather than large IT projects," Bracken said. "To do that we need an environment in Government where technology leaders in the identity space can flourish."