Feeds

MPs praise e-passport roll out

But there are challenges ahead

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

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.

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
In the next four weeks, 100 people will decide the future of the web
While America tucks into Thanksgiving turkey, the world will be taking over the net
Microsoft EU warns: If you have ties to the US, Feds can get your data
European corps can't afford to get complacent while American Big Biz battles Uncle Sam
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
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.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.