The Government will invest more than £5.5m to research secure identity management systems.
The Technology Strategy Board, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) have jointly decided to fund the projects. Businesses, universities and a city council are among the organisations that will collaborate to find ways to protect privacy.
Three projects will be carried out. EnCoRe, led by Hewlett-Packard Laboratories, focuses on how individuals can grant and withdraw their permission for the use, storage and sharing of personal data.
Second, VOME, led by Royal Holloway University London, will research end users' ideas and concepts as far as privacy and consent are concerned. The aim is to gain a clear requirement of what users want from hardware and software.
The third project, Privacy Value Networks (pvnets), led by Oxford University, will “generate a detailed understanding of individuals' and organisations' conceptions of privacy and identity across a range of contexts and timeframes”.
Iain Gray, chief executive of the Technology Strategy Board, said: “The next few years will see governments and businesses around the world making substantial investments in identity management infrastructures. In order to prepare UK businesses for competition in this global market, practical and cost-effective solutions need to be developed which inspire public confidence by improving privacy and enabling consent as an integral part of future procurements.”
Professor David Delpy, chief executive of EPSRC, said the long-term goal of the research was to ensure a good balance between freedom and security for everyone.
He added: “Society demands a lot from personal data systems. We wan them to give us the freedom to buy, vote and bank on the internet but we also want them to protect us form the threat of terrorism and identity theft without invading our privacy.”
The projects were selected in an open competition managed by the network security innovation platform of the Technology Strategy Board in conjunction with the EPSRC, ESRC, Home Office and the Identity and Passport Service.