- That is because the trial involves the payment of benefits and could conceivably involve very sensitive data being made public – or at least that’s the concern of some critics.
- Earlier this year the government’s chief scientific advisor Mark Walport wrote a report on blockchain – or distributed ledger technology – which was enthusiastic about its potential to produce “disruptive innovations that could transform the delivery of public and private services and enhance productivity through a wide range of applications.”
- He recommended that the government should back trials of the technology while also looking carefully at the security and privacy implications of using it.
- He also has a theory that the trial – though billed as a way for claimants to manage their money better – could also be “a potentially efficient way for DWP to restrict, audit and control exactly what each benefits payment is actually spent on, without the government being perceived as a big brother”.
- “This trial is designed to explore how distributed ledger technology could help support financial inclusion and offer budgeting help, and it does not place any restrictions or limits on what a claimant can spend their welfare payments on, nor tracks how they spend them.”
The UK government faces controversy over an app that tracks how benefit claimants spend their money.
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