Manufacturers are unwilling to get involved in the £5.8bn ID cards programme because of the scheme’s unpopularity, a secret Home Office report has warned.
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The Home Office sought confidential views from potential ID card system providers, including BT, IBM, Motorola, Royal Mail and Siemens. The 32-page “restricted” report, Market Soundings, sets out the “main risks” cited by 15 firms as reasons why they might not bid for development work on setting up the ID cards scheme and national identity database.
“Recent indications show that the British public’s appetite for the ID card is declining. Association with the resulting programme may compromise a company’s public image,” the report leaked to the Sunday Times says.
The report also warns that the ID cards scheme is potentially vulnerable to criminal activity. It quotes one manufacturer that says, “In New Zealand the lifetime of the card and chip was reduced from 10 to five years, since holding information for 10 years on a card could be dangerous as criminal activities may be able to defeat chip security within these timescales.”
The leaked report follows the news that the ID cards scheme is on hold at least until the end of the year, while home secretary John Reid reviews Home Office priorities.
The release of e-mails between government officials has also revealed fears that the programme is in serious trouble and unlikely to meet its 2008 deadline.
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