» Monday, June 27, 2005

ID Cards

Asked about the need for biometric ID cards in the light of a comment by a US senator questioning whether the technology could deliver what thte UK said, the PMOS said that in terms of the technology for ID cards, that technology was developing all the time. It was unfair to judge our approach to the technology even before we had completed the procurement process. It was proper was that we took this step-by-step. It was the considered judgement of the experts in the Home Office and elsewhere that we needed to bring ourselves into line with international practice. Asked how many countries actually were introducing biometric technology the PMOS said that the list was quite extensive. For instance in the EU there was Spain, Belgium and Italy among others in various stages of development. It was developing quickly and as the technology developed, alongside the increasing awareness of the problem of identity fraud we believe that more countries will demand biometric testing. Put to him that the Prime Minister had said this morning in his monthly press conference that we wouldn’t be doing this if it weren’t for passports and the technology and asked where therefore terrorism and identity theft came in, the PMOS said that the point the Prime Minister was making was that because of the development of passport technology anyway the additional ID element was only £30.

Asked if the Government had improved its IT procurement process for this project, the PMOS said that that as the Prime Minister had said this morning, in terms of the Passport IT process, that had gone relatively well. All technology processes required you to develop the technology as you went, by their very nature you couldn’t start with the idea and work backwards. Technology was always evolving. Put to him that the passport office in particular had had serious IT problems, the PMOS said that it had subsequently got much better. Put to him that the £30 was just the unit cost not the final cost, the PMOS said that the Prime Minister had said this morning he wouldn’t be daft enough to suggest a scheme which people would deem too expensive. Asked about the impact on large families, the PMOS pointed out that at the moment people paid for passports and that didn’t seem to have prevented families going abroad, this would after all only be a one off payment. No doubt there would be further impact studies made concerning children and families and so on.

Briefing took place at 16:30 | Search for related news

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