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The Identity Project

Identity project Initial Response to s37 Report

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The LSE Identity Project welcomes the Government’s first bi-annual section 37 report to Parliament about the likely costs of the ID Cards Scheme. In particular, we acknowledge the inclusion of set-up costs, for the first time, in the figures that are to be considered by Parliament. However, the report remains vague on many important areas of the scheme and raises important questions:

  • It gives no details as to whether the new system is likely to be based on a new database (which can have proper security built in) or on existing databases which will have many inaccuracies.
    What is the breakdown of the 'set-up costs'? Will this entail a new register or an adaptation of older systems?
  • There is no indication of when procurement is likely to begin or how long it is likely to take.
    When will the procurement process actually begin?
  • It talks confidently about successfully recording biometrics to identify individuals uniquely, but there are no immediate plans to trial possible technologies at this stage.
    How much will the Government spend on testing the technology, particularly secure systems required in this as well as the biometric technologies?
  • It refers to international obligations for passports in the Schengen area, but fails to point out that the UK is not subject to these requirements.
    Has the Government looked into the implementation of biometric passport in the Schengen area?
    Do their passport programs incur similar costs and details?
  • No consideration is made of the likely fees that will be charged to verify identities against the National Identity Register.
    Has the Government estimated costs of allowing employers to verify visas through verification against existing visa databases for foreign employment?
  • The claimed purpose of the Scheme continues to shift.
    It now appears to be primarily about illegal working and illegal immigration, rather than identity fraud which was claimed as the main purpose a year ago.
  • One of the expected benefits of the Scheme is convenience for citizens.
    What policy and cost considerations are involved in the integration of the Citizen Information Program into the National Identity Register?

The LSE Identity Project is finalising its analysis of this report and its broader implications which will be issued shortly.

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Page last updated 9 October, 2006
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