back to article DWP building a separate ID tool as Verify can’t cut it, whisper sources

The Department for Work and Pensions looks to be developing its own version of an online identity tool intended as a way to ensure a secure transaction with government services, according to several sources. The current mechanism for online identification while securing benefits and tax credits is the Government Gateway, which …

  1. Crisp

    This is a solved problem surely?

    Thanks to two factor authentication my bank knows exactly who I am. Thanks to the wonders of encryption I can be fairly sure that no prying eyes can read the contents of my transmissions.

    If banks can do this kind of thing for online banking then why can't the government? It's not even hard! I think even Blizzard use a similar system for protecting it's users too. If it can be done for video games, it can be done for the DWP.

    1. Tom Wood

      Re: This is a solved problem surely?

      Yes, but this is once you have a bank account. Setting up a bank account if you've never had one is a surprisingly difficult task. Especially for recent immigrants (e.g. refugees granted asylum) who have no identity history in the UK and may not even have ID documents from other countries.

      It's these sorts of individuals DWP in particular will have difficulty identifying.

      I imagine the Verify system would also struggle to identify many of those particularly of an older generation who even if they have a bank account may not have any debts (so no credit record), have no driving licence or passport, etc.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: This is a solved problem surely?

        Actually it is bad even for UK citizens. My partner had all of the bills in her name, or rather all of the bills with paper copies (2). When we separated, amicably, and closed our joint account it was extremely difficult to get the appropriate paper documentation (passport and driving licence together did not suffice) to open a new account. I eventually forced my CC company to issue a paper bill - they were reluctant, and then open a new BT account (again reluctant to provide paperwork - and it cost extra) in order to have the appropriate documentation. Its not who you are but seems to be where you are.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: This is a solved problem surely?


          If you can scan a genuine paper bill header it's probably easiest to do a bit of editing and knock out a new one on a colour printer. Even better, knowing the waste "management" at the company that used to print my mobile & water bills, it might not be too difficult to obtain some genuine blank stock.

          1. Ben Norris

            Re: This is a solved problem surely?

            @DoctorSyntax this only highlights how hard it is to verify who somebody is when documents can be so easily forged.

      2. Richard Jones 1

        Re: This is a solved problem surely?

        Opening a new bank account is dead easy with one proviso, you have to be a crook opening the account for nefarious purposes like money laundering or those scammers who con people out of bank details and want them to make stupid transfers so the money can be stolen.

        It is only honest folk who have problems and they do not count do they?

    2. Alister

      Re: This is a solved problem surely?

      Thanks to two factor authentication my bank knows exactly who I am. Thanks to the wonders of encryption I can be fairly sure that no prying eyes can read the contents of my transmissions.

      Maybe they're trying to implement a secure solution without using encryption - after all, encryption = terrist, doesn't it?

      1. Yoshi

        Re: This is a solved problem surely?

        And of course you'll be expecting them to do this without creating a database of people/credentials since the country is anti-ID card and this is the same thing through the backdoor according to many a Daily Fail reader. Not sure the banks have that cracked.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This is a solved problem surely?

      Works fine - after you have opened an account. But if the banks can't "verify" your credit history - through having borrowed and paid back lots of money in the UK, or having lived and worked in the UK for years (neither of which is true in my case) then you can't open a current account in the first place.

  2. kmac499

    Gateway vs Verify

    I used Gateway a while ago to get a pension statement, all fairly straightforward.

    This year I needed to use Verify (via the Post Office) for Self Assesment. It has some quite clever tricks using your smartphone to photo documents and take a selfie, to confirm a common identity. (It wouldn't accept my old paper only driving licence though.) Then 2FA using the phone to login in to the service.

    But as with all Logins it's still just a couple of passwords which if they are compromised you're stuffed. Maybe the emphasis should be on fraud detection rather than ID verification.

    If my phone is used as a 2FA device, reporting my phone missing should bar it from being used.

  3. cantankerous swineherd

    crims already working on automating social security fraud. hard working families in for a surprise when they find out they've been signing on for a few years!

    1. glen waverley

      ... been signing on for a few years...

      Quite likely.

      As the authorities clamp down on fake (ie made up) identities, then the bad guys turn to using real identities. As they don't want to use identities that are likely to be already in the system, they are better off using identities that fit the criterion cantankerous swineherd outlines. Leading to the scenario s/he describes.

      Except it tends to be singles or couples without kids who are used without their knowledge. (Family benefits might mean even middle class are in system.)

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    from "The Bullshitters"

    "If they're out there, they're alive. And if they're alive ... they're paying tax. Find them !"

    (from memory)

  5. This post has been deleted by its author

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'll get the popcorn in then...

    This promises to be fun (read: painful on the pockets of taxpayers), one wonders if it'll work as well as the much vaunted electronic signing pads alluded to here.

    The local Jobcentre quietly ditched them and went back to pen and paper signing on a couple of months ago.

  7. Al fazed

    I see the problem,

    They have only counted two farmers ..........

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon