Headlines: April 28th, 2008

Working across boundaries is vital to the Transformational Government strategy which is steered by the Cabinet Office. Sharing confidential data between public bodies is an essential part of joint working, but there is a high risk of information falling into the wrong hands. In a move to develop processes for joint use of confidential data, ten local councils have set up a shared learning group to refine best practice.

The group will use Microsoft CardSpace and Eduserv, the developer of access and identity management systems, will provide project members. Staff of the 10 councils will be able to share confidential documents securely, as well as take part in discussions relating to the group on a dedicated portal.

As the authentication process occurs in a secure local environment rather than in the Web browser, information cards offer greater security than traditional log-in systems. By employing CardSpace, users are less likely to fall victim of a phishing attack, whereby an unauthorised entity attempts to acquire sensitive information by masquerading as a trustworthy website.

Geoff Connell, CIO, London Borough of Newham and Chairman of the Shared Learning Group, said: “To our knowledge, this is the world’s first information card implementation in the public sector. However, recent security breaches have highlighted the need to enhance IT security in governmental organisations. Using information cards makes it easier for the group to share information in a secure manner. In addition to extra security, Eduserv’s technology saves us valuable time and administrative resources.”