Tuesday, February 14, 2006

ID cards in the UK within two years

The ID card bill got through the Commons yesterday. It's a shame that Gordon Brown, no lover of the ridiculous scheme to say the least, has now decided as part of some handover deal with the Prime Minister, that he will be a leading public advocate for it. In recent days he's been uncharacteristically energetically dishing out all the tired and baseless soundbites about how ID cards will combat terrorism and benefit fraud etc. He's no doubt been convinced that it will be a convenient "he opposed ID cards, he's soft on terrorism" soundbite to throw at Tory leader David Cameron when the campaign for the next election comes along in three years or so. It's a decision he'll eventually come to rue, though, as this is one expensive white elephant of an information system, which will almost certainly cause at least as many political problems for the New Labour government, as the poll tax did for the Tories. With a £19 billion price tag (the most trustworthy estimate has got to be the LSE's) that will only grow, and the hassle it will cause so many people.

On the bright side, this one information system will provide technology academics with a hugely rich source of "how not to do it" case study material for years. Though I'd seriously prefer it if they somehow, even at this late stage, found some excuse to extricate themselves, in advance, from the predictable political disaster to come.

Update: Ian Brown, as usual, has some useful things to say on the subject.

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