UK Blockchain Dole Pilot Under Attack

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Last week Blockchain News reported that Govcoin Systems is working on utilising Blockchain for social welfare payments distribution in a new trial for the UK department for Work and Pensions, and this week it’s come under fire from leading online activists. 

The announcement sparked public criticism from current and former members of the UK’s Government Digital Service tweeted:

Joshua Chambers from govinsider.asia caught the Twitter protest:

The current head of the UK GDS, Steve Foreshew-Cain then wrote “You can be sure that the user need wasn’t: Pls record forever, immutably, details of my benefits and restrict how I spend them”.

He continued that “it’s not the most vulnerable in our society being served here but divisive ideology of ruler and ruled.”

Ben Hammersley, a former advisor to the prime minister, added that the move is “spectacularly sinister.”

Loosemore also revealed that the announcement of this project was first made on the day that he decided to resign from the Government Digital Service. This departure formed part of an exodus from the unit of a number of founding staff members.

Opposition politician Chi Onwurah asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Stephen Crabb, for comment in the House of Commons following the reaction on social media.

“Government is trialing Distributed Ledger technology or Blockchain for payments and spending of claimant’s benefits. It’s a fantastic new technology, but government’s own report says it needs a regulatory ethical and data framework,” she said.

“How do we know that vulnerable benefits claimants are not being forced to share their data without giving proper informed consent?”

The Minister responded that:

“…this kind of technology is very new, I confess I’m not an expert on it.”

This UK project is the first to trial Blockchain in the welfare system.

 

About Richard Kastelein

Founder of industry publication Blockchain News, partner at ICO services collective CryptoAsset Design Group (helped raise over $200m+), director of education company Blockchain Partners (Oracle Partner) and ICO event organiser at leading industry event  CryptoFinancing (first ICO event in Europe) - Richard Kastelein is an award-winning publisher, innovation executive and entrepreneur. He sits on the advisory boards of half a dozen Blockchain startups and has written over 1200 articles on Blockchain technology and startups at Blockchain News and has also published pioneering articles on ICOs in Harvard Business Review and Venturebeat.
 
Kastelein has spoken (keynotes & panels) on Blockchain technology in Amsterdam, Antwerp, Barcelona, Beijing, Brussels, Bucharest, Dubai, Eindhoven, Gdansk, Groningen, the Hague, Helsinki, London, Manchester, Minsk, Nairobi, Nanchang, San Mateo, Shanghai,Tel Aviv and Venice. His network is global and extensive.
 
He is a Canadian (Dutch/Irish/English/Métis) whose writing career has ranged from the Canadian Native Press (Arctic) to the Caribbean & Europe. He's written occasionally for Harvard Business Review, Wired, Venturebeat, The Guardian and Virgin.com and his work and ideas have been translated into Dutch, Greek, Polish, German and French.
 
A journalist by trade, an entrepreneur and adventurer at heart, Kastelein's professional career has ranged from political publishing to TV technology, boatbuilding to judging startups, skippering yachts to marketing and more as he's travelled for nearly 30 years as a Canadian expatriate living around the world.
 
In his 20s, he sailed around the world on small yachts and wrote a series of travel articles called, "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Seas' travelling by hitching rides on yachts (1989) in major travel and yachting publications. He currently lives in Groningen, Netherlands where he's raising three teenage daughters with his wife and sailing partner, Wieke Beenen.

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