» Thursday, June 16, 2005

ID Cards

Asked why Charles Clarke was so confident that the cost of the ID cards would be nearer £93, bearing in mind the track record of government computer projects, rather than the £300 that had been projected by the LSE, the PMOS said that because there had been problems regarding certain computer systems, people should not assume therefore that there were problems with this particular system. As Charles Clarke said, the important thing was that we had not been in the position, as we had not been supplied with the figures, to be able to examine the LSE figure in detail. The figures, however, that Charles Clarke had used were the result of intensive work that was done in the Home Office. Therefore, people should not assume they were comparing like with like.

Asked if the Government was confident of winning the ID card argument, the PMOS said the public were ahead of the Government in recognising that identify fraud was a real issue, and that there were real benefits from an ID card system which helped protect individual identity. The PMOS said the ID card system was also of benefit in terms of countering organised crime and terrorism. In those terms, the Government was responding to what was increasing public concern about the ID issue.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Search for related news


  1. [quote] As Charles Clarke said, the important thing was that we had not been in the position, as we had not been supplied with the figures, to be able to examine the LSE figure in detail. The figures, however, that Charles Clarke had used were the result of intensive work that was done in the Home Office. Therefore, people should not assume they were comparing like with like. [end quote]

    The LSE’s figures are the results of intensive work by a group of world-renowned and respected academics. Whereas the Home Office’s figures have been cooked up by civil servants and shrouded under a veil of "commercial confidentiality". Yet the government still thinks we should trust their arithmetic, even when every large-scale public sector IT project in living memory has gone massively over budget — not forgetting that this would be the biggest public IT project in British history.

    And the government is still avoiding that there is plenty of evidence that an ID card will *increase* the risk of identity theft.

    Whereas the LSE have evidence for their claims, where’s the government’s evidence that an immensely expensive ID card scheme will have any effect on identity theft, organised crime or terrorism? Because there’s plenty of evidence that the reverse is true.

    Comment by Owen Blacker — 16 Jun 2005 on 9:39 pm | Link
  2. It’s also worth saying that the \xA393 the government claims for the "unit cost" of the card is misleading. The current claim is that the system will cost something like \xA35.5 billion, and there will be something like 40 million cardholders. That comes out at about \xA3140 per cardholder. But in fact that’s an underestimate, since the \xA393 is supposed to cover the cost of issuing a passport too. So the government’s own estimate of the price of the card needs to be increased by ~50% to cover what they think the scheme is going to cost in total, and that’s before they’ve cocked up the IT.

    Note also that that \xA35.5 billion is for the card scheme and database itself — it doesn’t cover the cost of training, equipment etc. for some of the planned uses of the card (such as denying NHS treatment to people who don’t have cards).

    Comment by Chris Lightfoot — 17 Jun 2005 on 11:38 am | Link
  3. One of the most expensive elements will be supplying all and sundry with fingerprint and or iris readers etc. Unless they are going to march all suspects down to the nick – a bit time consuming and manpower demanding – then most mobile plod will require a reader of some sort in their vehicles. These things will need to be pretty good to avoid too many false readings and consequent further expensive checking. They will also need to be encrypted. Have they costed that? Have they costed the added manhours required to carry out this extra work?

    I can’t make my mind up whether the Home Secretary is pulling the wool over our eyes or the security bods are pulling it over his.

    Comment by Mr Pooter — 17 Jun 2005 on 5:12 pm | Link
  4. Sorry, I don’t know how to shrink a link but ….


    This is the type of thing used to justify ID cards. Problem is, unless they are 100% secure against false positives (ie they NEVER allow a false confirmation of identity) they will make the situation far, far, worse. Proving it wasn’t you who bought the XYZ if your official ID is used illegally will be nigh impossible and the onus of proof is bound to be reversed by the credit card companies.

    Comment by Mr Pooter — 21 Jun 2005 on 9:20 am | Link
  5. Let’s recognise that Clark will not be around to see this scheme incorporated. By that time – assuming the Government manages to impose this insanity on us all – he will have moved to another job or even been moved out of Government. So he can afford to make it up as he goes along.

    This is exactly what has happened in the past – routine reshuffles are the main mechanism to ensure that no mud sticks. So all ministers may make grandiose claims and pronouncements and sod the consequences, someone else will be picking up the bill anyway.

    All government statements about costs should be viewed with grave suspicion. Repeated announcements of ‘new’ money which turn out to be existing budgets are but one example. Hiding costs is another.

    Comment by Chuck Unsworth — 21 Jun 2005 on 11:50 am | Link
  6. There is a way out of this but I really doubt anyone in Whitehall has the energy or tenacity to find it and I think the inventor is chaser greener fields than the UK alas. There is no need for an ID card to cost this much. The ID card, if ever adopted, should use a permission based system obviously – but will it? Doubtful.

    Comment by Roger — 21 Jun 2005 on 10:12 pm | Link
  7. Here is an idea, tattoo a barcode on your backside corresponding to a data base entry of all your personal details.
    Excuse me sir, could I see some identification?!!!!
    Great eh?

    Comment by old but firm — 23 Jun 2005 on 2:44 pm | Link
  8. A bum idea and obviously rascist.

    Comment by Mr Pooter — 23 Jun 2005 on 3:44 pm | Link
  9. Bum idea, yes. Racist??

    Comment by newbeard56 — 23 Jun 2005 on 4:51 pm | Link
  10. Of course rascist.

    ‘Is it because we’re white?’, people will ask. I mean, what use would a black barcode be on a black bum?

    There’s probably grounds for religious and cultural objections too. It’s against all I hold dear to be seen without my Y fronts outside my own home. God would surely shudder at the sight of all that flesh at customs and Gay men would be unable to control their natural urges.

    Then there’s Health and Safety at work issues, Banks, border controls, and Post Office counters to be considered…..

    As I said, a bum idea. No doubt the fruit of a feverish imagination on a hot day in a sweltering office like mine!

    Comment by Mr Pooter — 23 Jun 2005 on 5:08 pm | Link
  11. Thanks Mr Pooter for pointing this out.
    We are fighting for space around a fan here , 29c in the shade with melting brains.
    We could have a choice of colours – nah, Tonys lot only talk of choice.
    I have just noticed on the Beebs news site that the next debate on the ID Card nonsense is on the same day our glorious leaders are celebrating Trafalgar.Mr Hoon has apparently scheduled this date so instead of six or seven MPs mumbling away he may have it down to one or two.

    Comment by newbeard56 — 23 Jun 2005 on 5:26 pm | Link
  12. Whilst I’m not sure the idea was meant seriously, nor would I really like to encourage it, but one could always tattoo in colours other than black ink; I have non-white friends with tattoos.

    And, whilst I can’t speak for all gay men, I can assure you that it takes more than an unclothed bottom for our urges to become beyond control. Indeed, I’m sure even the most libidinous gay man is capable of controlling their urges when presented with even the most attractive bottom.

    It’s the Revenue and Customs guards I’d feel sorry for, having to inspect quite so many derri\xE8res, even if they didn’t support the policy! *GRIN*

    I’d just implore everyone to go sign up to http://www.pledgebank.com/refuse and http://www.no2id.com/ so we can try to defeat this flawed, dangerous bill before it comes to all that.

    Comment by Owen Blacker — 27 Jun 2005 on 8:17 pm | Link
  13. Do all politically correct people lack a sense of humour? *GUFFAW*

    Isn’t the idea of ID by body tatoo a little low tech 20th Century German? *GROAN*

    Who said ‘Some of my best friends are Jews.’ Goebbels? *WEEP*

    Derriere? *ARSE*

    More seriously, we all carry an equivalent to a barcode – our DNA. The Home Office is collecting hundreds of thousands of DNA samples and adds to the database daily. One may be certain this information will be linked into the ID machinery.

    Comment by Mr Pooter — 28 Jun 2005 on 10:30 am | Link

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