There has been considerable criticism of the Identity Cards Bill on the grounds of erosion of civil liberties, ineffectiveness in its intended aims and lack of clarity around cost, but relatively little attention seems to have been paid to the significant practical problems of implementing ID cards and the National Identity Register (NIR). There is considerable unease within the information technology (IT) industry around both the government’s record on IT procurement and the technologies – especially biometrics and database security – proposed for use in the ID cards scheme.
Most of the implementation of the scheme is likely to be done by private companies, some of which have already been meeting and lobbying government. These include companies with previous poor records in outsourced public sector work. Corporate Watch decided to investigate and bring to public attention which companies have shown interest in the ID cards scheme and (where relevant) their records in public-sector projects. We have also provided a brief overview of some of the opinions of industry and official bodies on the IT procurement process and ID card technologies.
Published in 2006.