Feeds

BT has 'Big Brother' wobbles over ID scheme bids

Sees major image damage in the cards?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

British Telecom may not bid for ID card contracts because of concern that its involvement would make it seem like a 'Big Brother' company in the eyes of the public. According to This is London, BT has been talking to consultants and public bodies, including Liberty, in order to gauge how close involvement with the ID scheme would be perceived.

The area where BT's skills would be likely to be most appropriate would be in providing the infrastructure that would be used in order to link the network of readers with the national identity register, and hence with multiple other government databases, which would put the company squarely at the Big Brother end of the deal. The Government so far has played down the key role that will be performed by what will, in effect, be a national surveillance network and played up the bits of plastic instead. But as the project progresses the purposes of the network will become more obvious to the public, and the Big Brother aspects will move to the foreground.

BT is currently claiming that it hasn't yet decided whether or not to bid, but any hesitation may not stem entirely from the Big Brother factor. The company is already involved in the the NHS National Programme for IT, and it might view that as enough headaches for the moment. Nor are large UK Government IT contracts viewed by industry with undiluted enthusiasm these days. Bad planning and moving goalposts can make project failure a near certainty, and it's generally the contractor that ends up being blamed. Add the Government's determination to push down prices to this and you might reckon winning a UK Government contract boiled down to very publicly trashing your own reputation while tearing up five pound notes.

In recent sessions in Parliament, ministers have declined to rule out either EDS or Capita, both of whom have figured large in previous IT failures. But if the Government started ruling out companies now, it might find itself in the embarrassing position of not having anybody credible pitching for the contract.

BT itself sponsored a meeting between Intellect members and ministers earlier this year, which according to Nick Kalisperas of Intellect was intended to brief government on what could be done. The government has been leaning heavily on UK industry trade body Intellect for IT expertise, with Intellect itself running a "Concept Viability" service for government IT projects.

One might hope that the viability issue would speedily despatch the ID scheme, but Intellect's submissions in the two consultations on ID cards have stressed its view that the IT industry can "meet the technological challenges laid out by the Government's proposals". The Government no doubt takes this to mean that the IT industry thinks the scheme will work, but actually it's merely saying it thinks the technology can be made to work. We rather doubt that, too... ®

Related Stories:

Clarke takes charge of Blunkett's Fear Agenda
Tories come out in support of UK ID card scheme
Need a job? Get a card - arresting ID pitch to business
ID scheme, IT the key to Blunkett's new terror laws

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Scrapping the Human Rights Act: What about privacy and freedom of expression?
Justice minister's attack to destroy ability to challenge state
WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?
Tabloid splashes, MP resigns - but there's a BIG copyright issue here
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
EU to accuse Ireland of giving Apple an overly peachy tax deal – report
Probe expected to say single-digit rate was unlawful
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
Hey Brit taxpayers. You just spent £4m on Central London ‘innovation playground’
Catapult me a Mojito, I feel an Digital Innovation coming on
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
EU probes Google’s Android omerta again: Talk now, or else
Spill those Android secrets, or we’ll fine you
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.