The end is the beginning

The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have published their coalition agreement. This includes the following key lines:

10. Civil liberties

The parties agree to implement a full programme of measures to reverse the substantial erosion of civil liberties under the Labour Government and roll back state intrusion.

This will include:

– A Freedom or Great Repeal Bill.

– The scrapping of ID card scheme, the National Identity register, the next generation of biometric passports and the Contact Point Database

So that’s it – the battle is over. We’ve put an end to the daftest databases invented under Labour. But it’s far from the end of the work. Whatever happens, the UK needs a trusted population-scale authentication scheme to support online transactions and interaction. It needs to be a scheme that is open, trustworthy, flexible, respectful of privacy and civil liberties, and most importantly, not owned by the government. Over the coming months we will see a host of new identity and authentication mechanisms proposed to support industry, in much the same way as was originally proposed by Sir James Crosby’s prescient report. Hopefully this government will have the good sense to actually listen to those who properly understand the issues and technology, and will embrace whatever solutions the people – and not the Home Office – select as their preferred tools.