This from the Guardian today.. yet another reason to abandon the ID cards scheme
An official report has warned that the government's plans for ID cards may put poorer people at greater risk of fraud, and that ministers are failing to coordinate implementation of the 10-year programme.
In a blow to Downing Street, which insists that biometric technology will make ID cards safe, the report says people with a "rich biographical record" will have better protection when the cards are introduced by the target date of 2017.
The warning, which prompted Tory calls to abandon the scheme, came in the annual report by the Independent Scheme Assurance Panel. It is formally charged by the Home Office with overseeing the implementation of ID cards.
The panel, chaired by the non-executive director of the Identity and Passport Service, Alan Hughes, says mistakes will inevitably be made by machine and man, and warns that not enough work has been done to assess them.
"The integrity of the scheme and trust in it are essential, yet it will never be free of errors (for example, the biometric matching services will always return some matching errors). Public trust in the scheme will be dependent on the protections within the scheme from misuse of personal data, and the diligence with which mistakes are corrected."
Poorer people could be at particular risk of having their identity stolen because their cards could be their only form of ID, unlike holders of credit cards. "Identity verification is a process and should not be dependent upon any one piece of data (biographic or biometric) alone. It is already difficult successfully to pretend to be someone who has a 'rich' biographical record - provided the verifying organisation does adequate checks. Care must be taken that confidentiality and integrity are supported by proper processes and policies are not over-dependent on technology."
Damian Green, the shadow Home Office minister, said the danger to poorer people showed the need to scrap the scheme. "Poorer people who don't have lots of credit cards will be exposed to the mistakes and will therefore have their lives made a misery by being unable to prove their own identity.
"Gordon Brown is getting used to U-turns. This would be one of his more sensible ones before he makes the lives of poor people in this country even worse."
Parliament will decide whether the ID cards should be made compulsory for British citizens. They are to become compulsory this year for non-EU foreign nationals living in Britain, and for 200,000 airport workers and Olympic security staff from next year.
Jacqui Smith, the home secretary, hopes to build up a "critical mass" to support the £4.4bn scheme by giving incentives to public sector workers in "positions of trust", including nurses, care staff and teachers, to sign up early. They will be allowed to obtain a card without renewing their passport.
The panel also pointed out that a ministerial committee charged with coordinating identity management across government had been disbanded, and highlighted a "risk of shifting sands": ID cards could take so long to introduce that technology will move on and "priorities will shift".