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MPs attack secretive ID card scheme

Bill Goodwin

The government’s programme for a national biometric ID card lacks clarity and is poorly thought out, a cross party group of MPs said today (30 July).

 

MPs on the Home Affairs Select Committee said the government had failed to think through how scheme - estimated to cost around £3bn - would work in practice.

 

The report called on the government to clarify how the card and the proposed national population register would work in practice.

 

The Home Office should say how many card readers are needed, what they would cost and what supporting infrastructure would be needed, the committee said.

 

“Little attention has yet been paid to the physical infrastructure that will be needed to support the system, including issues such as how biometric readers and enrolment equipment will be connected to the central database.”

 

“These issues are vital: if, for example the infrastructure is insecure, the viability of the whole system will be compromised,” the report said.

 

The MPs condemned the commercial confidentiality surrounding the project and called for the scheme to be opened up to wider scrutiny by technical experts and the public.

 

“The Home Office has allowed commercial sensitivities to stand in the way of proper technical and public scrutiny of the practical details of the scheme. Too many major IT projects have failed in the past and the government must adopt a more open procurement process,” said committee chairman John Denham.  

 

 


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