MyLifeMyID website: and my thoughts

Anyone who has had a looked at my LinkedIn profile now would see that I am working for the Home Office. I am there working on website convergence (a part of the transformational government strategy) and the Home Office presence on Directgov and Businesslink.gov.uk.

The website: http://www.mylifemyid.org/node first came to my attention as it was a new site that had been set up by the identity and passport service, therefore I needed to include it in the Home Office web estate, and so include it in the list of sites we need to rationalise/converge.

This has been duly done and I won’t bore you with the detail, it is temporary.

When I saw it promoted on the BBC news tonight, I thought that I would have another look.

It is worthy, yes people need to interact and to understand, prod and question the ID scheme (DISCLAIMER: I have nothing to do with this policy area, or the Identity and Passport Service other than collaborating with them in the effort to redefine the Home Office web presence).

However, I thought that much effort has been expended here, the Minister has gone out into the student community to explore this, taking with her this website as part of her tool-kit (as it were).

If we could establish social media and online social engagement in departments, removing the fear of the unknown, reducing perceived risk and so on – this drive to engage people and encourage dialogue would be very simple, and I believe more effective.

The website is good, it is a gentle mix of information pages alongside an invitation to collaborate. However, in order to interact, personal detail must be divulged, registration is mandated. Bearing in mind that one of the chief concerns about ID cards is the risk of government misuse of data (something that I do not buy into at all), it is slightly ironic that the ‘consultation’ website demands disclosure of potentially sensitive/indentifiable information.

Hopefully, in the future, the opportunities offered by social media to help inform and challenge controversial policies will be welcomed by Ministers and policy units – in the same way the websites are now.

DISCLAIMER: I am a contractor to the Home Office, I certainly do not represent their own views, all of these are my own, and on a personal note, I think the efforts being made are valiant.

Here’s to encouraging and sharing opportunities across departments to make this a more democratic society.

16 responses

  1. Have you actually read the site? Have you seen the opinions voiced on there? Not one post other than by the administrators takes a positive view of the ID scheme. Even though the administrators are removing a lot of posts and banning a lot of people there has yet to be anyone standing up and saying they like the idea. And in general there’s a huge suspicion of the government claiming they’re just canvassing opinion. We’ve all heard the way Downing Street petition statistics are misused at PMQs and I have no doubt that the sole purpose of this site was to produce a statistic the Home Office can use to totally bend the truth and tell us we (the student population) are broadly in favour of something in actuality a huge number are completely opposed.

  2. I thought I had, I will go back and have another look. However, my post was more about the technology and use of social media than the ID card consultancy or policy.

    Removing posts and banning people would only really happen if there is abuse, party political statement or repeated responses.. or spam. If this is not the case, then why don’t you contact them here: http://www.mylifemyid.org/contact and ask them for the conditions for deleting posts or banning people.

  3. If spamming was grounds for removal surely the Shooter bots would have been removed? they seem to have posted a variety of badly thought out, incoherent support for the scheme while seeming oblivious to any interaction with the other posters. So oblivious that its obvious they aren’t real comments in real time but some administrator added posts probably culled from a variety of responses from the students. Its interesting that they are as overwhelmingly positive for the scheme as they are badly written and thought out.

  4. ‘Shooter bots’ LOL.

    No I think these were actually pre-registered forum accounts (Shooters1, Shooters2, etc) for convenience which were then handed out to the students of Shooters Hill College where Jacqui Smith did the presentation so they could give an instant reaction and jump-start the discussion without having to register etc. But then again who knows if they were real?

    The MyLifeMyID site is now in meltdown because of the spontaneous raid last week by anti-ID card campaigners. The IPS must be in a dilemma now about which would be the least embarrassing – to shut it down now and keep it running. I don’t envy them having to make that decision.

    A friend had this to say about the incident:

    “If the Government wanted to reach young people, why didn’t they simply go to where the young people are, rather than building a brand new website and trying to getting them to come? Why didn’t they, you know, just set up a group on Facebook?”

    All in all a legendary tale of PR risks not effectively managed.

  5. Well gang, kind of my point. We need to move away from the build it and they will come mentality, and actually utilise the opportunity offered by having many and varied groups of people self-organising on the web into communities where engagement can happen – so long as it is not the ‘booming voice in the pub’ kind of thing.

    I believe that this should looked at as a move in the right direction, but does prove that half-hearted adoption of online collaboration should be avoided. But full consultation should to be carefully thought through and needs to be two-way.

    Really, the MyLifeMyID people should be talking to the NoID people, an perhaps an online debate? Or opportunity to debunk misconceptions and explore ways of moving forward.

    We will see

  6. Emma, you said that the MyLifeMyID people should be talking to the NoID people. Quite right! But isn’t half the problem the fact that the Home Office have refused to talk (or listen) to anyone about the ID scheme? Not the Information Commissioner, not the LSE, not NO2ID, not HM Government’s Chief Scientific Advisor, not Sir James Crosby … ?

    Meg Hillier has just finished running around the country in what must have been the most secret public consultation ever. Reporters were not told where the meetings would be held until the day of the event to prevent the public or campaigners from finding out. The invited representatives (organisations like local authorities and the UK Borders Agency) were hardly representative of the public who were supposedly being consulted (“the public”, according to the press releases). The government really doesn’t want to hear the public’s views.

    The MyLifeMyID site would have been a really good idea if
    1) it wasn’t such blatant propaganda – the information about ID cards hosted on the site could not be more one-sided. Lots of IPS spin, no countering arguments;
    2) there was a government representative online to debate with the posters (who have started getting bored that there is no one to argue with because they *all* hate the scheme); and
    3) anyone thought that there was the slightest possibility that the Home Office might take notice of what contributors are telling them.

  7. The website is not ‘good’. It has one of the most poorly implemented forums I’ve ever seen. The mods don’t know if they’re coming or going, and their supposed ‘impartiality’ is questionable, not to mention their patronising tone. The ‘invitation to collaborate’ is nonsense. Do you really think 25 anti-ID kids will make any difference at all to the ID scheme? The IPS has heard all these arguments before, over and over again, from people with far more influence and standing than ‘mere’ kids. As for the ‘MyLifeMyID people’ debating with NoID (sic), it’d be a turkey shoot. The MyLifeMyID people know only slightly more than nothing about the whole scheme. They’re just there to ask dimwitted questions.

    However, as you say, it’s a step in the right direction – although it’s rather more the equivalent of dipping your toe in the sea and thinking “this is far too cold – I don’t think I’ll dip my toe in the sea again”. The IPS has been carefully avoiding any public debate on this subject for years – I don’t think this new ‘initiative’ is going to change that attitude.

  8. Bill, thanks, this is useful stuff. I have passed this link and comments on to the person I know in the IPS.

    Mr Crocus, hmmm, well let’s see shall we? Hopefully it will be built upon and reviewed for success/failure/lessons learned and the rest. I sincerely hope that you are wrong

  9. The irony of the terms of conditions listing
    Inappropriate Material

    * Your own personal details (e.g. telephone number, email address etc.)
    On a pro ID card site. Gee I wonder what would happen if your personal details were lost or misused. Why would they think it would be a bad idea to give your personal details to strangers. Less people will read that site then have access to them on the database

    The site definitely is intended to get results that will be spun to make the case for the ID card. They will get several hundred responses that are anti and then cherry pick a couple of positive posts. Then take the results of the survey that doesn’t seem to be publicly visible and say 54% of people are worried about ID theft therefore we need the ID card. Regardless of the fact that the rest of the survey is completely anti ID cards.

    The site isn’t looking for feedback they are looking for excuses.

  10. Hi, I am one of the Admins at mylifemyid. I notice that there has not been a post since 17 July, does that mean people think things are getting better?

    If you are 16-25 then we would love to hear your views, and if you look at the site you will see that they are not all pro!

  11. In terms of this project I am one of the Admins, go and look at the site, it is open to everyone to view.

    If you look through my admin posts on the site, of which they are many. You will see that I have mentioned I am way older than 25, which is an additional reason I try to avoid putting forward a view (the other is that as a researcher I try to avoid lead, seeking to probe, in order to shed light), I have also mentioned that I am director, and I have mentioned that I am one of the researchers on the project.

    Do I think I should have made the point in the comment above that I am a director or an equity holder, on reflection, no! The post could equally have been made by one of my colleagues who is not a director, indeed it could have been made by a moderator who is not even a researcher. I also did not mention the fact I referee rugby matches, something which may influence my tendency to blunt rulings!

    Nor do I think that in your comment above you needed to have said that you are a member of Ideal Government. I think when we are commenting in somebody else’s blog, posting in our own name is sufficient.

  12. Ray,

    The issue is one of context. You have posted a comment on Emma’s blog (and I apologise if I have offended you Emma) which discusses govt’s use of Web2.0 tools. Your post in this context was read my me as a way of saying the “consultative research” was back on track. You made that comment as an admin not a director of the company.

    I suspect you’ve made similar comments on other sites where you are simply trying to get more 16-25 year olds back on the site and then being an “one of the admins” is more appropriate.

    For the record, although I am a reader of Ideal Govt and have posted once or twice I wasn’t aware it was a membership organisation. Can’t think if there is anything I do need to declare. I wasn’t even a member of the scouts😉

  13. Apologies if I was less than clear, and as a director, researcher, and admin I would love more 16-25 year olds to visit the site. As would most members of the site, I believe.

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