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Phone App For Benefit Claimants Raises Fears Of Spending Control

July 15, 2016

The DWP is trialling a new app based on bitcoin software as a way of paying benefits, Lord Freud has announced, raising fears that claimants spending could be closely monitored and controlled.

Blockchain is the technology which powers the virtual currency Bitcoin and it is now being incorporated into many other applications. The DWP have begun a six month, small scale trial of the system under the name GovCoin.

The trial was announced by Lord Freud, who told a technology conference:

“Claimants are using an app on their phones through which they are receiving and spending their benefit payments. With their consent, their transactions are being recorded on a distributed ledger to support their financial management.”

A former member of the Government Digital Service has told the BBC that he has serious concerns about putting highly sensitive data on a shared ledger, which can never be changed even if it is inaccurate.

He also told the BBC that the technology could be used to monitor benefit spending and force claimants to only spend their benefits on approved items.

The DWP have denied that there any plans to replace current payments systems and describe the trial as an attempt to find ways of offering budgeting help.

You can read the full story on the BBC website.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. July 15, 2016 4:35 pm

    i am thinking that this is absolutely ridiculous. not everyone HAS a mobile phone. of those that do not everyone HAS INTERNET ACCESS(me for one and i know of others too) and what about those with little ability when it comes to technology>? including those with certain mental health problems. the elderly etc.who cant understand technology at all.

  2. July 19, 2016 8:01 pm

    What about those that just don’t want to connect to the internet because of the price plus line rental. That can be over £50 a month or £12.50 a week. out of £74 a week that leaves £62 Then with all the other expenses pay then and you maybe left with little or nothing to buy food. There are cheaper providers than the one I used but they may tie you up with long deals

  3. July 21, 2016 11:16 pm

    that’s one reason i dont want to go on the net via my mobile phone wild thing666… another is, being disabled, living alone and online 24/7 when i am at home which is much more often than when i go out, last thing i want is to bothered by the constant noises coming from Facebook etc.on the rare occasions i DO get out. the 3rd reason is, i cant use a touch screen phone, and i am not that good with them if they are connected to the net. once owned one such. every morning the alarm went off and i would try switching it off(mobile phone alarm that is) and invariably i would find later i had hit the button that put me on the net/ so i had it blocked. but touch screen phones you cant do that on i’m told

  4. July 22, 2016 1:20 am

    I’m not keen on the idea also Internet on my phone is hit and miss cannot afford a new contract phone ! I’m not so sure of privacy on my mobile either I don’t do on line banking no bank account as yet being paid at post office is easier for me ! I know where I stand being paid cash and pay my rent when I get paid at one place . I don’t trust online banking ! This feels like control to me I don’t like or want it ! Feel like being forced to own a mobile phone and costs it incurs and Internet ! The phone I have is on last legs . I never agreed to contact from DWP via mobile phone for reason I may not get messages on it or internet it’s to random .

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