Trevor Mendham

UK Compulsory National Identity Cards

Dangers of ID Cards


The database required to support compulsory National Identity Cards will be massive, probably the biggest IT project ever undertaken in this country.

I worked for twenty years in the IT industry, I know how many bugs there are in any big system. Whatever assurances we are given the ID system will be full of bugs and incorrect data. Add to that basic human error and we have the potential for a huge mess.

Of course the system could be designed and built to military level specifications with independent verification and triple redundancy of hardware, software and communications.

Or it could simply be contracted it out to the lowest bidder.

I know which one my money's on.

Governments have a dreadful record when it comes to implementing large-scale projects of any kind, let alone IT. Do you remember the mess over passports and the changes to Family Credit?

When your electricity contract is wrongly switched to another supplier it's annoying. What happens when your personal records are mixed up with someone else's and you find yourself declined medical treatment?

The influential IT magazine doesn't oppose ID Cards on principle - but even they have recently launched an "ID Cards on Trial" campaign. They say:

"This isn't a campaign about the principle of ID cards or civil liberties but a campaign about what we believe to be serious flaws in the bill over the estimated cost, scope, benefits and technology. If ID cards are to be introduced we believe the project is potentially heading for disaster unless these issues are addressed now."

UK ID Cards - Introduction

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