The Internet is a scary place to keep sensitive data.
In the past year TalkTalk lost my financial details, and Yahoo lost my logon details. Previously UK Government lost my spouse's bank details along with 25 million other recipients of child benefit.
Any bad guys with resources and the will to target me can use this stolen data to hijack my identity for their own ends.
Business and Government is similarly exposed - the World Economic Forum say cyber security risks are the biggest single threat to business and estimate the impact at $445B. The UK government recognises that the Internet is "inherently insecure".
Cyber Security - the Silent Killer
Inadequate cyber security could kill the global economy if we leave our businesses vulnerable to crime and our society defenceless against state-sponsored cyberattack.
Our traditional response to such cyber threats is for business and governments to build ever-higher walls around those islands of sensitive data in the insecure internet. It doesn't always work as the customers of Tesco Bank would testify.
But heightened security makes digital life difficult and time consuming for customers or citizens. They can't navigate the security assault course to access bank, government and commercial services online. Conversely, those organisations technology challenges are to make info available with appropriate privacy and access.
This internet safety vs convenience trade-off is everywhere in digital life - How can we be SHARED SECURE - with easy sharing AND robust security?
When we get this right, we grow the economy and improve lives. The outgoing Prime Minister of Estonia claimed it saved the leading small digital nation 2% of GDP.
Joined up Government
Citizens expect greater levels of convenience from their Government Services - this means simplified and truly "joined up" Government services.
Today, getting things done requires the sharing a citizen's information across may organisations. Here's some personal examples from 2016:
- In creating a limited company my and my co-directors sensitive personal info was shared between Companies House, HMRC and a business bank
- In renewing my parking permit we shared DVLA vehicle info with City of Edinburgh Council who then liased with my bank for a direct debit
- When leasing a flat as a first-time landlord I shared information with a Landlord Register, Dundee City Council, a private electrical contractor for safety testing, and interacted through credit check and legal documents with the tenant
Joined-up Government means cross-organisation, business, local, central government, citizen cooperation. Few citizens a cross UK, Scottish and Local Governments would disagree that today this can be slow, error prone, and disconnected.
The opportunities for government are two fold:
- Deliver on citizens expectations of simplified and convenient service
- Protect the data of citizens and governments from the rising cyber security risks
SICCAR - A new approach to an old problem
Wallet.Services are building a secure data sharing technology to provide safe and convenient joined-up government services. .
Its called SICCAR (old scots for 'sure and certain'), and applies BlockChain technology to protect sensitive info, whilst simultaneously distributing it across the Internet it to make sharing easy.
To Increase sharing with enhanced security seems counter-intuitive. But BlockChain uses a proven model of cryptography to enable information to be securely shared. Blockchain technology is being adopted worldwide by both commercial and governmental organisations for these very reasons,
SICCAR uses BlockChain' s capabilities to encrypt all data by default:
- to ensure only appropriate disclosure of data
- to lock data into historic unchangeable "chains", or ledgers, to ensure records are tamper proof
- using peer to peer networks to ensure data is always available and accessible
By using BlockChain SICCAR provides a platform that
- Protects citizen data while enabling sharing of that data across "inherently insecure" networks like the Internet
- Provides a platform for government and any 3rd party build citizen-centric applications more readily without the difficulty of extracting info from multiple systems
- Enables faster and smoother processes between citizens, businesses and government
- Promotes a "distributed consensus" network approach to the collaboration of business and government departments - which can start small, and grow as other collaborating parties wish to join the network
We believe SICCAR is a huge practical step forward in enabling a Digital First approach in Joined Up government, and we're proud to have collaborated with Scottish Government through their CivTech accelerator.
SICCAR demonstrator - 11th Jan 2017
Faced with applying SICCAR to the complex world of Citizen/Government digital life, Wallet.Services wanted to demonstrate the SICCAR approach to a problem that everyone would be familiar with.
We chose to focus on the process of license and grant application, approval and validation. Most adults apply for a licenses, permits, benefits or grants as part of everyday life.
Scottish Government's Digital Ecosystem Unit are working on the challenge- of identifying requirements for a common "license and grant" platform across all Scottish Government bodies. This work aims to identify efficiencies, cost savings and simplify citizen experience and as of Christmas 2016 had just finished its Discovery phase - and we look forward to reviewing its findings.
We believe that SICCAR is the right platform for license and grant processes to be delivered securely and efficiently, with lower complexity and cost, and with a compelling citizen experience.
To that end we have built a SICCAR License Demo that will show how a typical license process can be safely enabled across multiple parties.
The SICCAR License demo comes with a set of tools to support developers and provides core components for:
- Application by the citizen with unified data capture across any license
- Grant or Issuing and Revocation by a licensing authority
- Notification of application Status to the Citizen
- Verification and Enforcement f a license
On January the 11th 2017, we will show this at the CivTech demo day to 200 representatives of Scottish Government including the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Constitution.
Please sign up. and get access to the first Government BlockChain-powered service in Scotland delivering SHARED SECURE joined-up government.