Friday, 24 April 2009

Want to save money? Scrap the ID card

We've heard a lot lately about the desperate financial straits our country is in, and how eager the Government is to save money. All this is very worrying, and it certainly needs to try to ensure we're not deep in debt for a whole generation. There's one area where definite and large savings could be made with only a relatively minor degree of political embarrassment - i.e. by the Government admitting that its plans for a National Identity Card are misconceived and vague, and scrapping the whole project.

The aims of the project are very vague, and the Government has been publicly criticised by its own advisors for trying to do too many things. Every citizen who knows anything about information technology knows that all of our recent governments have been technically naive on databases, and have an appalling record in both getting large databases to work (at a cost anywhere near their original budget) and in securing confidential data. We are told that the scheme will protect us from terrorism, but without any convincing explanation of how it will do this.

The official projected cost of the project is currently around 5 billion pounds, with rumours that insiders believe it will rise to at least 10 billion. Unfortunately, David Cameron has said that the project should be cancelled, almost guaranteeing that it will not be dropped in the foreseeable future.

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