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Print 27 comment(s) - last by MrPoletski.. on Feb 10 at 10:17 AM


British ID card is packed with useful biometric information for security purposes, like facial and fingerprint scans. However, the British government forgot to buy readers for them and has no concrete plan to add readers to the expensive card program.  (Source: Wikipedia.org)
The UK's ambitious program revealed to be a major waste of money as they have no available readers

The U.S. is beginning to find out the hard way that adopting a digital ID card system isn't as simple as it seems.  U.S. passport cards were recently easily hacked in a proof-of-concept attack covered here on DailyTech.  However, security concerns aside, ID cards have other problems as well.

Britain's ID card program has become the poster child for problems of the weird variety.  The program seemed very promising, with the intention of putting a wealth of information at law enforcement's fingertips and making it harder for criminals to enter or exit the country.  The carding program, run by the Identity and Passport Service (IPS), cost $6.6B USD (£4.7B). The IPS offered cards with a wealth of data including biographical data as well as facial and fingerprint scans.

While such information would certainly be helpful to law enforcement efforts, there was one critical problem.  British officials forgot to buy readers for the cards. 

A news site, Silicon.com, submitted a FoI (Freedom of Information) request to the IPS, which responded by revealing that currently no police stations, border entry points, or job centers have readers for the card's biometric chip.  Without readers, the card essentially becomes just a photo ID; no more or less secure than a standard drivers license, albeit at a much higher cost.

Identity minister Meg Hillier, ironically, had just told the site the previous week that the fingerprinting information was a "vital part" of the program as "fingerprint coded into the chip … links you to the card."  Shadow home secretary Chris Grayling was quick to attack the floundering program.  He states, "Once again ministers have shown that the ID card project is absolutely farcical. What is the point of spending billions of pounds on cards that can't be read in the UK?"

Cambridge University security expert Richard Clayton agreed, stating, "If this capability is not there then the biometrics are, in short, a waste of time.  I would have thought that the government would have tried to get the readers rolled out as soon as possible as it is only when you get serious deployments that you start to learn what can go wrong."

No definite timetable has been set for the rollout of the readers.  The IPS has stated previously that it plans to roll them out, but they may cost British citizens even more taxpayer money. 

Furthermore, many of its officials seem indifferent to the idea and seem quite content not to push for the installation of any readers at all.  States IPS's Hiller, "We have always said that we would roll out the scheme incrementally. The card will not be as useful as it could be until we have got the volumes out there.  There's no prospect in the immediate future for the government directing anybody that you have to buy those things [readers] because we would be placing a burden on these organisations."

She continues, "The manufacturers of the machines have also got to decide whether it is worth their while to produce them.  I think that organisations will decide in time that it is better, quicker and cheaper to have them."

The government plans to start issuing the cards to all airport workers and international volunteers later this year and to gradually roll them out to the rest of the population.  The IPS claims that when this happens, the number of readers will naturally grow, but provides no plans of how this will be done or indication that it will encourage it.



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RE: You have to start somewhere
By MrPoletski on 2/10/2009 9:55:13 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I wonder if US citizens will so willingly give up their privacy ?? I would like to see an ID that has some type of biometric data other than just a photo; but to contain biographical info??? NO!!


Well I could go on about warrantless wiretapping and crap.. but that'd be besides the point that:

Boy you'd be making a serious misjudgement if you thought *I* (a British citizen) would give up my privacy like that, or any of my freedom... and I am far from the only one.

I stand by the statement that: "Those who would sacrifice a little liberty for a little security will deserve neither and lose both"

besides, with this ID card crap, it's not so much about the fact the government knowing tons of stuff about me I might not want to tell them.

It's the fact that there is a wealth of information that can be used in an innumerable number of criminal ways by unscrupulous individuals. That wealth of information has been taken/copied off my person (which is fairly hack proof) and put into a giant bag marked 'SWAG'.

Then I have to rely on somebody else to keep my information out of the hands of people I don't want having it. No thanks, all it takes is one laptop left in a bar. Will it happen? it's happened before, it'll happen again.

Not to mention that they have stated that some of the information will be SOLD to private companies. AS IF!

I'll see the rest of you REAL Britons in jail for refusing this card.


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