Thursday, June 16, 2005

Met Commissioner questions ID cards

The Telegraph reports comment from the Metropolitan Police commissioner, Ian Blair, that ID card biometric technology must be "near perfect" if it is to be of any use to his officers. He doesn't want police officers randomly demanding to see people's papers on the street but supports the cards in principle. An unreliable ID card system will certainly cause an already over-strectched police force significant difficulties in wasted resources, chasing shadows and errors, so he's right to be concerned about the technology.

The police are amongst the key public services at the sharp end of this system and the amount of effort they will waste in processing false positives (eg innocent people with faulty or missing cards) and the grief they'll get for letting the false negatives (guilty parties with kosher cards) through their fingers is going to make their already tough jobs that much more so.

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