Feeds

'Non-compulsory' ID cards poised for a makeover?

Kinder, gentler, don't mention the database

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

Analysis It's straight out of the New Labour Labs spin book. The Home Office executes a U-turn on compulsory ID cards, while the Home Secretary does the rounds of the media insisting that they were never compulsory in the first place, and that he is affirming his commitment to them by accelerating their rollout.

But there's a surprising amount to unpick from Alan Johnson's non-announcement this week, and although the actual change is small (backing off from a messy and pointless confrontation with the airline unions), the 'accelerated rollout' provides a few pointers as to where Johnson may be planning to take the project.

Sue Sample, Home Office sweetheart

Although certain attention-challenged outlets described Johnson's announcement that ID cards would not be compulsory as "a significant Government climbdown", the Home Office actually let this be known three months ago. It's also not the case, as some have reported, that Johnson announced the abandonment of the trial of ID cards for airport workers - he removed the compulsory aspect, but the trial remains in place, at least theoretically, on a voluntary basis.

Which is significant. Take him at face value when he claims to be an "instinctive" supporter of ID cards, but take into account that he's smart enough not to keep on banging his head against a brick wall (something of a first for recent Home Secretaries), and that coming on as the sensible one while getting the Labour Party off this particular toasting fork may come in handy if there's a leadership election in the next year or so.

By making the meaningless (because he can't commit future Governments) statement that ID cards will never be compulsory for UK citizens, he defuses the ID bomb to some extent, and moves the emphasis onto making them popular, useful and necessary. No, don't laugh - in some senses they could be useful and popular, and in some senses they could become necessary, the continuation of compulsion by other means. And if Johnson plays his cards right and doesn't make Smith- or Byrne-style demented claims, it needn't actually matter to him if people don't start volunteering for ID cards.

They're not his baby, and that only changes if he decides to make it change.

SANS - Survey on application security programs

Next page: Ticking the boxes

More from The Register

next story
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation
Brit colo outfit says it paid for 347KVA, has been charged for 1940KVA
Jack the RIPA: Blighty cops ignore law, retain innocents' comms data
Prime minister: Nothing to see here, go about your business
Singapore decides 'three strikes' laws are too intrusive
When even a prurient island nation thinks an idea is dodgy it has problems
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
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.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
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.