British internet users may soon be able to use their Facebook and other social media IDs and log-in details as proof of identity when accessing government web services.
The move, part of the government's national identity scheme which is expected to be officially outlined later this month, is seen as a viable alternative to actual ID cards as a means of allowing the population to register for benefits, submit taxes and interact with local and national government online.
Under the scheme, visitors to government sites will be given a choice of potential log-ins from a list of private companies, retailers, banks and social media sites whose security measures have already been validated by the state. Once chosen a user's preferred log-in will be validated and access to the site or service granted.
The news, first reported by The Independent, is likely to raise concerns about identity theft and about ‘Big Brother' tactics, such as being able to collect more and more data about citizens and being able to track their online behavior, however a government spokesperson was quick to stress that no information would be held centrally, and that the proposed scheme would streamline and simplify existing processes.