Wednesday, 6 May 2009

UK ID card scheme.

The pig-headedness of politicians never ceases to amaze me.

10 Downing St. and the Home Office are still pushing to get this running even after having all the problems the chosen implementation will suffer from made pellucidly clear.

I personally have no objection to a national ID card system that would make my daily life easier - I'd welcome it in a minute if it would combine all the goverment/tax/health/social services data that currently exists about yours truly.


Unfortunately these are still science fiction due to the stupidity inherent in the human race.

So what are my objections to the current scheme? Well, it has nothing to do with human rights or anything to do with the so-called "surveillance society". They can be summed up simply as:

  • Fraud: No matter what the underlying card system is, Chip'n'Pin or contact-less, it is still open to abuse. Note how quickly the criminal fraternity caught up with the technology after it was introduced.
  • Physical reliability: The physical environment and cleanliness of the card can and does cause significant problems. With Chip'n'Pin it's the build up of crud on the contacts that causes the problem. It then builds up in the reader and it's not going to be long before
    the reader needs servicing, if not disinfecting!
  • Cost: the current government estimate is about £5bn ($7.4bn). In the past, an overspend of not less than 50% of the original estimate is a good bet for HM Gov. projects, so the independent experts saying £10bn to £20bn is quite feasible.
    Oh, and you the holder of the card are going to have to pay £50 just for the privilege of having the card produced.
  • Logistics: yes.... well the way the UK's vehicle licensing system works seems to be OK, but it's only dealing with one un-related item of data at a time, this system is eventually going to have so many hooks and tie-ins it's bound to collapse eventually.
Give it up for now Jacqui, wait until the technology is a little more reliable and can cope with these problems.

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