The UK national ID card scheme was bound to fail because the government did not first build trust in the system, according to Simon Davies, director of Privacy International.
"People could see only the risk and not the benefit," he told attendees of the annual privacy conference in London hosted by the UK Digital Systems Knowledge Transfer Network.
It was not because of confusion about costs, so-called bogus claims by privacy groups or even political shenanigans, as some have suggested, it was about a lack of trust, said Davies.
Trust depends on being transparent, consulting stakeholders and being consistent in policies an behaviour, he said.
Like Google's recently exposed gathering of Wi-Fi data, the government went about the national ID card scheme in the wrong way. They did not take the privacy element seriously enough, he said.
Any plan to gather, store and use personal information is bound to run into problems, said Davies, if it is not done openly and transparently, and does not have a clear benefit to those involved.
People will not stand for hypocrisy and deceit, he said.