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    Location: Aberystwyth, Wales, United Kingdom

    I am the owner and managing director of Information Automation Limited (IAL), a company that specialises in research, consultancy and training for the information profession. We are particularly interested in all forms of electronic information resources (e-journals, e-books, etc) and I teach a course in electronic publishing at the Department of Information Studies in Aberystwyth. Drilling down still further(!), my interests centre on the quality and evaluation of electronic information, and in the thinking that underpins activities in library and information science.


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    Monday, January 16, 2006

    Three cheers for the peers!

    According to the BBC's Today programme and John Lettice in The Register,
    Tory and Liberal opposition peers will unite in the House of Lords today in an attempt to have the UK identity card scheme shelved pending an investigation of costs and benefits.
    More power to their collective elbow! To date we have seen no real, comprehensibe explanation with regard to how ID cards will help stop terrorism; serious concerns about usage creep voiced by the Information Commissioner; escalating costings; concerns that sensitive personal data will be held on the National Identity Register; and the threat of fines for non-use. The government has provided little information on any of these aspects - in fact, largely has refused to respond to concerns and questions - and the scheme seems both dangerous and flawed, as well as invasive of civil liberties - see the quotation from the London School of Economics in The Register article below.
    "Dozens of questions about the scheme's architecture, goals, feasibility, stakeholder engagement and outcomes remain unanswered". says the report. "The security of the scheme remains unstable, as are the technical arrangements for the proposal. The performance of biometric technology is increasingly questionable. We continue to contest the legality of the scheme. The financial arrangements for the proposals are almost entirely secret, raising important questions of constitutional significance."
    The amendment being proposed by the Peers is intended, according to David Davis, Tory Home Affairs spokesman, to force the Government to produce proper costings of the scheme. If passed it likely to block the scheme during this parliament. So, thats at least a couple of cheers for the Lords, then!

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