Blockchain technology could simplify identity management across government services, argues a new report from Reform.
Entitled “The future of public service identity: blockchain”, the paper notes that government agencies often have overlapping and even conflicting identity information about citizens, leading to frustration in government access and waste with respect to government resources. Distributed ledger technology like blockchain would help to eliminate such issues by ensuring that only one set of identity data is shared between various stakeholders. Taking things a step further, the Reform report argues that all of a citizen’s identity information could be collected in a profile on a smartphone app, allowing citizens to easily and conveniently access government services with a single device.
And this, in turn, could lead to more sophisticated state-citizen interaction, argues Accenture Technology Consultant Tory Thorpe in a Reform blog post. For example, incorporating biometric identifiers into the citizen’s blockchain identity could enable fast, frictionless airport screening, with automated camera systems verifying passengers’ identities as they pass through processing. Or it could allow freelance workers to immediately upload their earnings reports for tax purposes using their government identity app.
It’s a bold vision, but one whose components are becoming increasingly visible as more blockchain platforms emerge, and more government services go digital. And with a couple of major UK supermarkets now trying out a smartphone identity app to verify customer age for purchases of controlled goods at self-service kiosks, it could be an increasingly familiar approach to ID verification for many citizens.
(Originally posted on FindBiometrics)