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back to article Private sector saviours wanted for desperate ID scheme

Plans for the widespread introduction of fingerprint passports and ID cards, already delayed until 2012, have receded further into the distance with the publication of the latest Identity & Passport Service cost report for the ID scheme. This effectively pulls the plugs on the network of IPS-run interview centres, and lobs …

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Boffin

No government project is ever useless.

No government project is ever useless. This one for example, is an excellent example of a project that was created without understanding the requirements, nor the true costs. The hardware/software suppliers made claims that were untested and accepted as true despite news stories of the failures of face recognition and the trivial ways to fake fingerprints. Finally, it now seems that there is no widespread demand for ID cards within any commercial enterprise. This should not come as a surprise as in the commercial world nobody cares about identity, except where payment is concerned and ID cards don't help with testing the ability to pay.

So, the government can't find a real use for ID cards, commerce is happy with the current situation and the people? Well explaining why someone needs an ID card, a passport and a driving license rather than a single document (and each must be paid for) is going to be tricky.

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Stop

Well there's one company

This really is a mess of the first order, and the main reason I couldn't vote for such an inept mob last week. Oh, and I probably won't be the first to say it, but Phorm could take it on, they like people's personal data.

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Paris Hilton

Very poor journalism

ID cards axe to grind aside John, I think you must have linked to the wrong report.

How did you manage to conjecture that the interrogation centres were closing from that? Shameful reading between the lines to push your own agenda.

No wonder govt gets away with so much incompetance when 99% of journalists can't even be bothered to check the basics and repeatedly spew up the same tabloid misconceptions.

Based on intellectual ability and integrity, Paris would make both an excellent Reg hack and gov IT contractor.

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Thumb Down

"it seems logical that IPS would contract out the interviews"

So the process of verifying the identities of passport applicants is going to be given to the lowest bidder... well I'm reassured.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Very poor journalism

Try reading the report, and reading the story while you're about it. Where in that do I say they are to close? I do say that they are effectively pulling the plugs on the IPS-run interview centres, but that is not the same thing as closing them. I also quote the report as saying that IPS now plans to provide the application system through the open market.

As the IPS-run interview centres were intended as the key component of the application system, it would seem reasonable to me to conclude that this effectively pulls the plugs on them.

Very poor commenting, I'd say. If you care to try again once you've done some background reading, I suggest you keep a civil tongue in your head.

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Gold badge
Joke

To clarify:

Actually, the Home Office has not chucked in the cards. They were going to, but then they found that they didn't have any cards to chuck in. It was originally thought that they'd lost the cards in the internal mail, but a subsequent internal investigation has revealed that they never had any cards in the first place.

Due to failings in the Home Office's purchasing systems when the cards were ordered, three lemons, a potato and bag of barbeque charcoal were actually purchased in error. Attempts to trace these have shown that they have disappeared and it is believed that they may have been lost in the internal mail. An internal investigation has been ordered to look into this.

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Coat

Government inneptitude strikes again!

why not ask the South African Government security services. they set up a complete ID card system back in 1992 for over 30million population.

last i heard, it was setup and working ok.

geez with all the dodgy contacts this government has, you'd think they would have approached all other EU governments for advice on setting up such a system (the GERMAN SYSTEM WORKS), not to mention all the dodgy dictatorships around the world (cept the yanks, but only cos we already know they dont know how to do anything on, or under budget, and the idea of signing yet another blank cheque horrifies everyone)

mines the one with the barcode on the back.....

illuminatus;p

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Re Well there's one company

Never mind Phorm, they are amateurs.

There's one company which already has the personal details of most of the adult population of the U.K. in its database, and issued them all with ID cards which they carry quite happily.

Tesco.

Now there's a scary thought.

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Coat

Re: Well there's one company

I don't reckon even Capita would want a part of this one!

Mine's the one with 5CR3W-UK/60V on the back in bright yellow paint for easy recognition through CCTV and targetting lasers.

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Black Helicopters

@ David Harper

First off, I don't have a Tesco (or any other) 'loyaty' card as I don't want Tesco snooping on whatever I buy. That is *my* business, not theirs.

But, even given that, Tesco's snooping has certain advantages over HM Gov's ID card scheme.

Its free to enrol.

Its voluntary.

They pay you to use it (though not much)

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Alert

And now for the Daily Express version...

A swift adding up of the estimated units over the 10 years yields nearly 80 million.

GIven that said cards are valid for 10 years, this surely implies some/all of: a lot of lost/replaced cards, a lot of Johnny Foreigners coming over for 6 months and more at a time, or a hell of a lot of breeding by the British population.

Also, to do the interviews, they'll need to average 20000 a day. That's a rate that only Japanese council workers can achieve; and even then only when breasts are involved. I await the updated ID card photo guidelines with (heavily) bated breath.

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Alert

Regime Change

Cant we bring on the regime change in the UK and get reid of these budgetary weapons of cash destructions.

I am sure the excuse of a new broom and a new government will be able brush this trash into the bin and devise the next big scheme of twaddle?

how many hospital cleaners does £5billion buy you ?

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Pirate

I love it when a plan comes together

Living outside of the law, Jacqui "Hannibal" Smith.

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@ Eponymous Cowherd

I don't have any supermarket loyalty cards either, mainly because I don't want Tesco or their ilk tracking my shopping habits. As you say, it's none of their damn business.

My (semi-)serious point is that there *is* a company that *has* actually enrolled a large proportion of the UK adult population in a card-plus-monster-database scheme, by persuading them to give up personal details for minimal real payback.

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Anonymous Coward

(untitled)

"offload its current network of interview centres to private sector partners"

That'll be the nice lady at the post office counter, then.

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re: very poor journalism

I find it difficult to see how you got from: "In order to enrol fingerprint and photograph biometrics in the most convenient and cost-effective way, we now plan to provide this through the open market. This will result in a cost reduction." to closing, sorry, "pulling the plug" on the ABI interrogation suites used to grill passport applicants.

"Ok, minister we plan to change direction (not a u-turn, mind) and call in a private sector organisation to run the centres that we've just spent X hundred million setting up. I understand that we are in the run up to a difficult election, and the ID cards thing is a bit of a mess, but I'm sure the public will understand.)

Can't see that happening, the government would have to be insane.

Oh, hang on a minute, maybe you have a point...

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@ Eponymous Cowherd re: Tesco

Not forgetting if you join the Tesco scheme but then have second thoughts, you can stop using Clubcard. At which point Tesco has to destroy your data.

Sadly, even being dead won't get you off the Blunkettbase.

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Unhappy

@ nickj re: (untitled)

"That'll be the nice lady at the post office counter, then."

What post office counter?

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@ Mike Richards

"Not forgetting if you join the Tesco scheme but then have second thoughts, you can stop using Clubcard. At which point Tesco has to destroy your data."

Sure they do, Mike. Sure they do.

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time moves on

The interesting thing is what happens in some other countries. When you wang in your passport app the first thing they do is digitise your new pic and compare it to their passpic db, this reveals rated matches of your face with others and you current face with those of 10, 20, etc years ago. Although these arrangements are still fairly new they are revealing all manner of naughty folk. Anyone who still thinks that pic matching sucks is well behind the game, it's surprisingly good in real world situations and getting better all the time. Adding a finger scan or two would just be a bit of jam on top.

Basuically this means that fancy enrolment arrangements aren't needed, supply details and pic and then interview to sort out anomalies. Of course driver licences are the obvious place to start but UK's been a bit behind the game in photos on on these.

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Anonymous Coward

@"very poor journalism"

>"I do say that they are effectively pulling the plugs on the IPS-run interview centres, but that is not the same thing as closing them."

Yes it is. That's exactly what the English language colloquialism "to pull the plug on" something means: to switch it off, shut it down, kill it, by removing the supply of power. It's a metaphor from switching off the life-support machine on a coma patient in intensive care.

I'm not siding with the OPs hyperbolic rant, but even after I had read through the full article I still couldn't understand any other meaning into that phraseology.

"IPS now plans to provide the application system through the open market.

As the IPS-run interview centres were intended as the key component of the application system, it would seem reasonable to me to conclude that this effectively pulls the plugs on them."

OK, I do understand what you're /trying/ to say, but it's terribly ambiguously worded. It's just that "pulling the plug on" is a metaphor for switching off someone's life-support. You seem to be saying that they aren't dead nor imminently about to die; that's not what happens to someone you "pull the plug" on. Wouldn't just plain old "pulling out from" (or something like that) perhaps more precisely convey the nuance you were trying to express? "Pulling the plugs on /their support for/" perhaps?

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Pirate

@"very poor journalism" Posted Thursday 8th May 2008 21:53 GMT

"It's a metaphor from switching off the life-support machine on a coma patient in intensive care."

Trouble is that when they pull the plug on this coma patient of an ID system, it wakes up and starts breathing of it's own accord. Then wonders off and tries to find another body to inhabit.

a' la "IPS now plans to provide the application system through the open market."

I just wish sombody would put a stake through the chest cavity (there is no heart) of Jacqui (what shall we f*ck-up today) Smith and the rest of this fecking gov'ment so the rest of the population of this island can get back to something like normal life. Not the over-regulated spied on existence they have foisted on us.

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Anonymous Coward

@Rich

It's the new business model, don'tcha know; let's save the PO from the free market fsck up.

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