Feeds

Passport and ID card price hike laundered via private sector

High Street enrollment adds £20–40 to tab

3 Big data security analytics techniques

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. ®

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
EU: Let's cost financial traders $400m a day, because EVIL BANKERS. Right?
Wait 'til this one hits your pension fund where it hurts
Systems meltdown plunges US immigration courts into pen-and-paper stone age
Massive outage could last four weeks, sources claim
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
Record labels sue Pandora over vintage song royalties
Companies want payout on recordings made before 1972
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Edward Snowden on his Putin TV appearance: 'Why all the criticism?'
Denies Q&A cameo was meant to slam US, big-up Russia
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Judge halts spread of zombie Nortel patents to Texas in Google trial
Epic Rockstar patent war to be waged in California
prev story

Whitepapers

Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.