Feeds

Biometric harvest network can handle just 700k a year

Either scheme dies or we die before getting a card

The Power of One Infographic

Home Sec Alan Johnson gave another insight into how big a trickle of applications for ID cards the government expects when he revealed the full extent of its biometric enrolment network yesterday.

Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling had asked "how many biometric enrolment centres are in operation; where they are located; how many applications they are expected to process in the next 12 months; and how many people they could each process and provide with identity cards each year if working at maximum capacity".

Johnson revealed the government had 34 "biometric enrolment offices" across the UK, ranging from Aberdeen in the North to Brighton in the South. Our geography is a little flakey, and it looks like the most westerly mainland centre is Cardiff - there's also one in Belfast - while the easternmost outpost appears to be London City Airport.

At least nine of these are in London. (There's one in Stamford but no indication as to which Stamford.) Manchester - the centre of the current ID card pilot scheme - has two centres, while there are another two in Liverpool and one in Blackburn.

The total capacity of this dab and snap network is 650,000 to 700,000 a year, Johnson said. Which is not a whole lot of ID cards in a population of just over 61 million. Ten years on, and without a dramatic boost in capacity, we'd still be at just seven million Brits in the ID database.

Except that this network is in effect the one which covers the biometric requirements for foreign nationals on behalf of the Border Agency. Which would explain why they are concentrated in immigration hotspots like London.

So, if a large part of the population suddenly decided it had to have an ID card so it could go to Europe or to the pub, they'd better be ready to queue.

The Post Office is tendering to offer biometric harvesting for the government, and Johnson has previously said the government has other options on how to extend its biometric network.

But no decisions are likely before the election, which is due to take place... any time now, after which a "new administration" will have to decide exactly how far and fast it wants to push the ID card/National ID register scheme. Or not. ®

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
MPs wave through Blighty's 'EMERGENCY' surveillance laws
Only 49 politcos voted against DRIP bill
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
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.
Reducing security risks from open source software
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.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.