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:

 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, Publisher and Editor in Chief of industry leading online publication, Blockchain News and co-founder and director at Blockchain Partners in London/Amsterdam/NYC. Kastelein is also an advisor with a number Blockchain startups doing ICOs including Humaniq.co where hs is interim CMO, DECENT.ch, Inchain, Chronobank, eGaas and others. He is regarded as one of the top journalists by the Blockchain and fintech communities – as is evident by his entry in the Top 150 Fintech journalists online and in the top 10 of the Blockchain Top 100 List.

As a prominent keynote presenter, he has spoken on Blockchain at events in Gdansk, Amsterdam, Minsk, Dubai, Antwerp, Eindhoven, Bucharest, Nairobi, Tel Aviv, Manchester, Brussels, Barcelona etc, where he helped spread the cause for Blockchain technology and cryptocurrency and, consequently, has built a notable network in the scene.

He’s also a director of a Dutch foundation called The Hackitarians and has run innovation events in London, San Francisco, Berlin, Amsterdam and other cities around the world on topics such Blockchain, Health, Energy, Internet of Things, AI etc.

In 2013, the European Commission appointed him as an expert for overseeing financing for emerging startups as a part of the European Commission’s 90 billion euro Horizon 2020 project, created in Brussels to promote innovation as a driving force of job creation and business ventures across Europe. He has also worked as an external expert for Innovate UK since 2012, judging startups for the UK government.

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