Feeds

Blunkett sets out store on compulsory ID cards

To ship with passports, new agency to run scheme

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

SANS - Survey on application security programs

The Home Office today confirmed, as first reported here, that the UK national ID card is to be issued alongside passports.* This effectively pre-empts a future Parliamentary decision on whether or not they should be made compulsory, because anyone who needs to renew their passport will be 'volunteered'.

The move, which comes alongside the announcement of a new executive agency to run and deliver the ID scheme, the publication of the results of the latest consultation and David Blunkett's riposte to the Home Affairs Committee, was made in order to "simplify the operation of the scheme, and reflects public support for a universal card."

The Register has already tracked the heavy massaging of process and procedure that has led to this verdict of "public support", and for the moment we'll confine ourselves to pointing to the procedure's failure to comply with Cabinet Office consultation guidelines, as noted here yesterday. Further massaging is however all too evident in the latest pile of documents, so we'll be returning to the matter. The latest consultation itself has been deemed to cover the rollout process alone, and we are told: "The Government has already announced its intention to introduce a national identity cards scheme... The consultation was therefore on the terms of the legislation necessary to introduce identity cards." And the legislation itself was brought in on the basis of "public support" - right?

In today's announcement Blunkett turns the ratchet further, saying "I am pleased that the Home Affairs Committee accepted the clear and convincing case in favour of a national ID card scheme... I welcome the constructive suggestions the Home Affairs Committee and others have made, and the improvements to the scheme I am announcing today will make our planned scheme simpler, clearer and more effective. I will now bring forward legislation to bring in a compulsory, national ID card scheme."

The Home Office's response to the Committee's heavily critical report appears to include a measure of dumb insolence and bobbing and weaving, for example on criticism governing the Parliamentary process ("proceeding by stealth") of the move to compulsion: "The Government notes the Committee's view, but does not believe that their proposal differs substantively from what is already proposed..." The general tone appears to be that the procedures proposed in the draft bill are perfectly adequate, and that many of the Committee's objections are in fact covered there. We will however subject it to a more detailed analysis later.

Having its cake and eating it, the Home Office includes in the 'you've decided already' consultation report some new opinion research data. This is based on focus groups and polling carried out in June and July, and seems of doubtful validity. The polling in particular appearing to indicate a general acceptance of ID cards as 'a good thing' on the part of a public that has scant knowledge of the ID card scheme, because it has not been told. For example: "Despite the low levels of knowledge regarding biometric information, the majority of UK respondents were in favour of providing all three types of biometric details (fingerprints, a facial digital photograph, and an iris digital photograph)".

So the government is telling us something like, 'seven out of ten people who don't know what they're talking about think this is a good thing.' Less helpfully, the public continues to fail to provide a clear indication of how much it's prepared to pay for an ID card, 'nothing' apparently not being one of the check boxes. So the verdict here is inconclusive, although by some alchemy we can't quite grasp the report settles on an 'indication' "that respondents would prefer to pay on average between £20 and £30." Hmm... ®

* Thank you, everybody, yes we know about the BBC story that says moving away from plans to combine passports, ID and driving licence is a change of plan in response to the Home Affairs Committee. In our opinion it has been clear for some time that a combined card was not going to ship, so we think the BBC is shooting at the wrong target here. In any event, if this was the story it would have been the story when Blunkett referred to a separate card shipping with passports at the Labour Party Conference last month. We expect the BBC will have some footage of this it could consult.

Related stories

Everything you never wanted to know about the UK ID card
Blunkett poised to open ID scheme offensive tomorrow
Home Office seeks spin doctor to sell cuddly ID card brand
UK ID cards to be issued with first biometric passports
Biometric gear to be deployed in hospitals and GPs' surgeries
UK gov pilots passenger tracking in fight against terror
Tag, track, watch, analyse - UK goes mad on crime and terror IT

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
Record labels sue Pandora over vintage song royalties
Companies want payout on recordings made before 1972
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Ex–Apple CEO John Sculley: Ousting Steve Jobs 'was a mistake'
Twenty-nine years later, post-Pepsi exec has flat-forehead moment
Number crunching suggests Yahoo! US is worth less than nothing
China and Japan holdings worth more than entire company
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.