Feeds

Passport and ID card price hike laundered via private sector

High Street enrollment adds £20–40 to tab

Mobile application security vulnerability report

Biometric enrollment fees for passports and ID cards will cost applicants £20-£40 on top of the basic price, estimates released by the Home Office revealed yesterday. In a prospectus soliciting private sector partners for enrollment, the Identity & Passport Service said that the total market for these services is worth "between £120 million and £280 million per year."

Passport fees are currently set at £72 while ID cards are intended to cost £30, and if IPS had persisted with the earlier plan of collecting biometrics at its own national network of interview centres, that would have been the end of it. But the switch to the private sector, announced earlier this year, allows the bulk of enrollment costs to be removed from the scheme cost, and charged back to the customers via private sector partners in "a competitive open market."

But given that the customers (6 million passport renewals a year, 1 million non-EEA citizens requiring ID cards) don't have a lot of choice about buying the product, any "competitive open market" will depend on there being more than one service provider per region or sector.

Which could well be a challenge. The system is intended to run from 2012, but as both the major opposition parties have promised to pull the plugs on ID cards, the revenue stream is only going to be there if Labour wins the next election.

In addition, IPS' wishlist for its partners is challenging. Biometric data will need to be "supervised one-to-one by a trained operator. They will need to have undergone security checks and be employed by an accredited organisation", and organisations "will need to demonstrate their capability in securing applicants' data appropriately." Facilities will need to be located in "areas with good transport links and existing customer footfall, such as high streets or large shopping centres providing easy and convenient access for customers", while service providers will need to have a strong brand that customers know and trust.

If your customers knew and trusted you, would you think fingerprinting them would be a useful exercise in brand-building?

The service providers will also need space to accommodate the equipment, to have "a demonstrated ability to record and transmit customer data securely", well-trained experienced staff and a low level of staff turnover, an existing national or regional network and "the ability to implement and manage a reliable IT infrastructure".

All this does sound like it has the makings of a very short shortlist. But there are benefits for any well-known and respected chain that is imbecilic enough ready to step up to the plate. You get "a new revenue stream; increased footfall; access to new customer segments" and - we kid you not - "association with respected and trusted brand" and "goodwill generated by providing a valuable public service."

Don't all rush at once. ®

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

More from The Register

next story
Adam Afriyie MP: Smart meters are NOT so smart
Mega-costly gas 'n' 'leccy totting-up tech not worth it - Tory MP
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
'Blow it up': Plods pop round for chat with Commonwealth Games tweeter
You'd better not be talking about the council's housing plans
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
ONE EMAIL costs mining company $300 MEEELION
Environmental activist walks free after hoax sent share price over a cliff
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
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.
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.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
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.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.