Tech

A think tank wants the UK to put passports on the blockchain

Passports should be put on the blockchain, along with other official forms of identification, to create one single online identity for citizens, a think tank has urged.

Blockchain's distributed ledger technology (DLT) can be used to create a single source of authenticated information and using it to underpin public services could speed up payment of benefits as well as reduce security risks, according to a new report from Reform.

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A single app powered by blockchain should be built for use across departments, which can often request information, for instance for a tax credits applications, which is already held somewhere else, like when a passport is issued.

The think tank also suggests that this app should be paired with biometrics so that the public can give approval for the use of information using a thumb print or face scan with their smartphone.

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The government is currently trying to build out its online identity checking service Verify – something that the government said it wants to roll out to 25 users by 2020 – however, Reform notes that a significant department, HMRC, has yet to use it.

There have been tentative experiments with blockchain for government services, with a trial for making benefits payments. Elsewhere, Estonia is pioneering digital identity with blockchain technology.

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