Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/09/20/ipod_passport/

People prefer iPods to biometric passports

Anyone for an iDcard?

By Mark Ballard

Posted in Policy, 20th September 2006 09:46 GMT

The Home Office has tried to frighten people into taking its identity plans seriously by publishing a marketing survey it said proved their passports were easy targets for ruthless criminals.

People care more about their iPods and mobile phones than their passports, according to an Identity and Passport Service (IPS) survey, making passports an easy target for criminals.

The IPS survey found that, "when put on the spot" by government-commissioned inquisitors, half of all young adults had no idea where their passport was.

"Only half...could say where their passport was without having to think or look for it," an IPS statement said. Yet 72 per cent of young adults knew exactly where their iPods and mobile phones were.

IPS director Bernard Herdan said: "While young people are rightly concerned about the whereabouts of their phones and iPods, it seems too many still underestimate the potential consequences of losing their passport."

The IPS survey also found that two thirds of people couldn't say when their passport was due for renewal.

But how does the government persuade people to care enough about their identity papers, or cards or passports, to carry them constantly? Or to renew their passport so enough people get biometric passports that the whole scheme is not deemed a failure?

Aside from fear, there's not much else the Home Office can use without sounding desperate, as was demonstrated by the reasons Herdan gave why people should care about their passports as much as their gadgets.

"Losing an iPod may mean you can't listen to your favourite track, but besides making you a target for fraudsters, a lost or stolen passport could mean missing out on a trip abroad, be it the start of a gap year, or just a fun trip to the sun," he said.

How are people taking to the IPS' biometric passport, we wonder? ®