Government responds to public concerns over new GOV.UK One Login system

The Cabinet Office has addressed concerns about the proposed data sharing legislation in a bid to allay concerns around ID cards using GOV.UK One Login becoming mandatory.

Posted 25 May 2023 by Christine Horton

The Cabinet Office is looking to dispel some misconceptions about the new GOV.UK One Login digital identity service for government. The questions have arisen from a public consultation on proposed legislation to support data sharing between departments.

The government said the proposed legislation will enable more effective online identity verification when accessing government services. This includes allowing checks against a broader range of trusted data held by relevant public bodies. It will mean that people who currently can’t access government services online will be able to do so.

GOV.UK One Login allows users to create an account, sign in, and prove they are who they say they are in order to access government services online. People will be able to reuse their proven identity, without needing to go through the identity checking process each time they use a different service.

The Cabinet Office has addressed concerns about the proposed legislation in a bid to allay concerns about ID cards and GOV.UK One Login becoming mandatory.

It said the proposed legislation does not include any proposal to create either a digital or physical ID card. “The government is committed to making it as easy as possible for people to prove who they are online, and access the services they need, without creating mandatory ID cards.”

It also confirmed that having a GOV.UK One Login account will not be mandatory for UK citizens. Offline and face-to-face routes will be available for individuals who do not want to use the online service.

Elsewhere, the government refuted that the new system would make it easier for hackers to get hold of people’s data. It said recognises “how important it is to protect users and their data and have robust measures in place to ensure the security and integrity of online government services and systems. We are following industry standard processes regarding security and resilience, and additionally consulting relevant external organisations for expertise and assurance.”

It also said that sharing data in this way won’t erode people’s privacy rights.

The government has stringent data protection processes in place. All data sharing is compliant with data protection legislation and guidance published by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO),” it said.

“This will remain the case for any and all data sharing subsequent to the proposed legislation.  Furthermore, all data sharing using Digital Economy Act 2017 powers must also adhere to the statutory underpinning Codes of Practice which includes penalties for misuse.”

It added that Public authorities disclosing data under the proposed legislation are required to be open and transparent. This is underpinned by a Code of Practice. Any sharing of data using the proposed powers will be included in the existing, searchable public register of information shares.