Feeds

Government admits overselling ID cards

But won't back down

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Boost IT visibility and business value

The government had admitted that it has oversold its identity card plans, and now admits the card won't solve every problem facing the country, from fraud to terrorism, via illegal immigration. Despite this, it has pledged to push on with the idea, saying it will still "help" in situations where fraud and identity abuse are factors.

Tony McNulty, the Home Office's man in charge of the card, also predicted a protracted battle between the House of Commons and the House of Lords over the question of making the card compulsory. Currently, both houses have to vote in favour of making the card a must-have, but the House of Lords is not expected to support the idea.

McNulty says the government is looking at the procedure to "see if it does what we want it to do".

Because the switch to compulsion will be secondary legislation, the government will not be able to use the Parliament Act of 1911 to force the change through the House of Lords.

McNulty warned of parliamentary deadlock if an alternative is not found, but perhaps he is missing the point of the two-House system, designed in part to prevent governments with big majorities passing legislation unchecked.

McNulty's remarks, made in a private seminar in Whitehall, The Times reports, are a clear indication that the government is about to take a new approach in persuading us of the benefits of a national identity database.

In particular, he said that the government has been a little too enthusiastic about the benefits the card would bring to the state, rather than to the individual members of the public.

The rather abrupt volte face follows a decline in public support for the card, following revelations about the potential cost of the project. Figures released by the LSE suggest the card could cost each of us up to £300 a throw.

"We don't resile from it," says McNulty. "Perhaps we ran away with it in our enthusiasm."

McNulty has also confirmed that the government will put a ceiling on the cost of the card, although he doesn't specify an amount. The rather empty gesture is clearly aimed at increasing public sympathy for the idea. But since the project will cost what it costs regardless of how much each of us is actually charged, we will end up paying for it one way or another.

®

Related stories

'RFID the lot of them!' UK ID card to use Support ID Card 'refuseniks' here
No2ID restocks Clarke-busting t-shirt

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
Chips are down at Broadcom: Thousands of workers laid off
Cellphone baseband device biz shuttered
Feel free to BONK on the TUBE, says Transport for London
Plus: Almost NOBODY uses pay-by-bonk on buses - Visa
Amazon says Hachette should lower ebook prices, pay authors more
Oh yeah ... and a 30% cut for Amazon to seal the deal
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.