Feeds

MPs praise e-passport roll out

But there are challenges ahead

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

MPs say project management of the first electronic passport has been an outstanding success.

The Identity and Passport Service (IPS) has been praised for its management of the introduction of the first type of e-passport, which contains an electronic chip storing biographical data and a digital facial image of the holder.

MPs on the public accounts committee said it was an "excellent example of successful project management and procurement" and urged the Office of Government Commerce to spread the lessons learned from the project across government.

But successful roll out of the second generation e-passport in two years will need a reconsideration of costs and the preparation of contingency plans, says the committee's report.

The e-passport is the first official British paper document to incorporate an electronic chip and includes security features which make it hard to forge and prevent unauthorised reading of the chip.

By September 2006 the IPS had reached 100 per cent production of the new e-passport, ahead of the deadline for staying within the US visa waiver programme. The agency used an exemption from procurement rules to amend its existing contract for passport production, rather than holding a competition.

However, warning of the challenge ahead, committee chair Edward Leigh said: "The introduction from 2009 of second generation e-passports, digitally storing holders' fingerprints as well as their photographs, will present an even more demanding implementation challenge.

"The best manufacturer's warranty which the IPS could get for the electronic chip embedded in the passport was for only two years, even though passports are valid for 10 years.

"The prospect of e-passport failures contributing to yet further delays at border controls is not an enticing one."

The report also recommends that the IPS eliminates areas of overlap between the e-passport and the national identity card scheme. The Home Office must explain why citizens need an identity card as well as an e-passport, it says.

Philippe Martin, senior analyst at Kable, said: "There's a distinct possibility that the cost of the e-passport could rise again, as the government seeks to pass on the additional costs of the second generation passport to the citizen.

"But on top of this, citizens will also have to pay for an identity card. This begs the questions, how far will public tolerance stretch in having to foot the bill for these innovations? Is this just another form of indirect taxation?"

This article was originally published at Kablenet.

Kablenet's GC weekly is a free email newsletter covering the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. To register click here.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Britain's housing crisis: What are we going to do about it?
Rent control: Better than bombs at destroying housing
Top beak: UK privacy law may be reconsidered because of social media
Rise of Twitter etc creates 'enormous challenges'
GCHQ protesters stick it to British spooks ... by drinking urine
Activists told NOT to snap pics of staff at the concrete doughnut
Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case
Health and Human Services IT security chief headed online to share vile images
We need less U.S. in our WWW – Euro digital chief Steelie Neelie
EC moves to shift status quo at Internet Governance Forum
What do you mean, I have to POST a PHYSICAL CHEQUE to get my gun licence?
Stop bitching about firearms fees - we need computerisation
Oz biz regulator discovers shared servers in EPIC FACEPALM
'Not aware' that one IP can hold more than one Website
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
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.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
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.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?