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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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    Thursday, January 31, 2008

    Are ID Cards just a little taxing?

    For those of us who have been publishing views which are anti-ID Cards, there seems to be a whiff of vindication in the air. We have said (among other things) that ID Cards:
    • will not provide the security that is their raison d'etre
    • will not work
    • will cost individuals real money
    Information World Review (IWR) - Confusion reigns over UK ID cards - Backers jump ship and memos leak - has revealed that two 'key backers' have pulled out of the project, and that finger-print data may not now be included for cost reasons. Surely without biometrics all you have is a bit of plastic with your name on? How secure is that?

    Meanwhile, sister publication VNU.com has noted that:
    Academics at the London School of Economics have warned that the cost of an ID card is likely to be around £300, and could soar to as much as £500.
    They estimate that the project cost may rise to a "staggering £19bn" rather than the already high published figure of £5.8bn.

    So while the project may be taxing the minds of ministers now, it is obviously set to tax you and I when we are obliged to spend £500 in order to own an obligatory ID Card (remember the system is supposed to be all joined up with e.g. the NHS systems so without your £500 Card you may not be eligible for a bed and your free dose of MRSA).

    The IWR story also highlights a second leaked memo, which says:
    "Various forms of coercion, such as designation of the application process for identity documents issued by UK ministers (e.g. passports) are an option to stimulate applications in a manageable way... There are advantages to designation of documents associated with particular target groups, e.g. young people who may be applying for their first driving licence"
    IWR add that if "UK citizens still refuse to sign up to the scheme the memo allows for full enforcement of use, but states that":
    "universal compulsion should not be used unless absolutely necessary"
    So that's alright then! I'd hate to be forced to pay.

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