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Global Challenges for Identity Policies

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Edgar Whitley and Gus Hosein
Palgrave Macmillan (2010)

Governments are rapidly developing and transforming national policies for identity management. If done well the rewards are remarkable; if done poorly, policy failure will be slow but nearly certain. Comprehensive identity policies involve creating or adapting schemes for the collection and processing of individual–specific data that will be shared across services, both within and beyond government, often for a variety of purposes. The range of bodies involved in such policy developments is extensive, raising important issues both for the government led implementation of such policies and for academics to study and engage the policy deliberations as they take place.

The authors have followed the UK National Identity Scheme for the past six years, from the introduction of the draft Bill, its passage through Parliament, to its current, heavily cutback implementation. By placing the UK experience in its global context this book provides a comprehensive review of the key arenas where identity policies are developed and provides detailed recommendations for policy makers who wish to introduce or update their identity policy.

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'In an age of 'identity management', when government seeks to define and to control identity, and the individual is besieged by fears of identity theft and the all-seeing, intrusive state, this excellent book provides much needed clarity, as well as all the information on the subject that anyone could possibly need. The authors have produced an essential reference book, which is concisely and elegantly argued: a must read for anyone concerned with the issues of identity.'
Henry Porter, The Observer

'Edgar Whitley and Gus Hosein have written an indispensable analysis of the I.D. cards legislative debacle. They draw timely and valuable conclusions as to how not to legislate. As members of the LSE Identity Project, which made a unique and uniquely valuable contribution towards mitigating the ineffable conclusions and complexities of the Identity Cards Bill, they gained invaluable experience which they have used tellingly.

In a scholarly but accessible way they debunk the artificial separation of science from politics which bedevilled the Bill. They also bring invaluable comparative sections on how other countries deal with the real problems of identity, the State and the citizen. In the process they critique the democratic feebleness of much secondary legislation, and the ever present problem of public trust. The book is also underpinned by a plethora of comparative sources. It is a 'must-read' for students of the ongoing saga of Identity Cards.'
Lord Phillips of Sudbury

'This book is essential to the conversation about digital identity and government. Policy makers will learn about technologies that promote privacy as much as security. Technologists will learn about the policy implications of their work. Throughout, Whitley and Hosein tie the two sides together with a lively intelligence.'
Kim Cameron, Chief Architect of Identity and Distinguished Engineer, Microsoft

'A timely contribution that investigates a contemporary phenomenon with the provision of academic insights into our understanding of the relationship between technology and society. This insightful study of the UK National Identity Scheme has wide-ranging implications for researchers, policy makers, and citizens.'
Debra Howcroft, Professor of Technology and Organisation CRESC and Manchester Business School, University of Manchester

'Broad support for identity cards ebbs away when the flaws of the system are seen, the penalties of non-compliance are noticed, and the costs are disclosed. It's clear the authors know their stuff: this book shows with canny insights and impressive research that no government has yet perfected the approach to ID. The blunderings of the UK government are at least enthusiastic; and the Taiwanese policy of not issuing ID Cards ending with the number 4 because its pronunciation resembles the word 'death' is a triumph of superstition over pragmatism. That nobody has got it completely right hasn't stopped governments all over the world trying. A fascinating, insider's view of how Labour came to embrace ID Cards, but without fully understanding how politics and IT policy can be a toxic mix.'
Tony Collins, Executive Editor, Computer Weekly

Global Challenges for Identity Policies