ID cards: Slippery plastic

According to the Guardian leader-writer:

The single greatest threat of the new ID infrastructure is to personal privacy, and it is barely touched by the headline row about whether cards should be issued or not. The danger is that individuals will get chewed up in – or, worse, randomly regurgitated by – a monster database. The amount of information stored on Britain’s wartime ID cards quadrupled in a few short years. The bureaucracy’s natural hunger for ever more data will only be encouraged this time by the fact the scheme lacks a single clearly defined purpose, and because of the potential for automatic updates each time the card is used. The devil lurks in the detail of regulations stipulating which information can be held and when it can be shared. Politicians need pressing even harder on these obscure rules than on whether to issue the cards.

Home Office delays ID card contract

James Boxell writes in the Financial Times:

The government’s controversial ID cards scheme appeared to have been kicked “into the long grass” on Wednesday, after the Home Office backed away from a commitment to award a key contract to produce the cards for British citizens this autumn.

The so-called “card design and production” contract – for which Fujitsu, IBM, and Thales UK were bidding – would have been one of the costliest stages in the £4.8bn project to introduce a national identity scheme.

The Home Office conceded the delayed contract might not be awarded until autumn 2010. Given that the Tories have pledged to scrap the scheme, however, it would be unlikely to see the light of day in the event of a Conservative victory in the next general election.