Identity Cards in the UK


Feb 22, 2014 (2 years and 8 months ago)


Identity Cards in the UK

Dr Edgar A. Whitley

Reader in Information Systems

Information Systems Group, Department of Management

London School of Economics and Political Science

Research coordinator: LSE Identity Project

Identity Cards in the UK

Where have we been? Where are
we going?

Timeline to current situation

First World War

Register of population 15

Prelude to military and industrial

Loss of interest when Register reported
1,413,900 men in England and Wales were
still available for National Service

Second World War

Second National Register

ordinating national service, national
security and administration of rationing

1950 Clarence Willcock stopped by police
and asked to show ID card

Lord Goddard: “to demand a card from all
and sundry … is wholly unreasonable”

39 agencies were using card for various
purposes when it was abandoned

2002 Efficient public services

“After the terrorist atrocities in the United States
on 11 September 2001, I was asked whether the
Government was considering introducing
identity cards. I said at the time that any debate
about identity cards should not centre
exclusively on issues of national security.
more important are the issues of citizenship and
entitlement to services

and it is in this context that
I would like to see the debate unfold.” David


On plans to create an ‘entitlement card’
that allows citizens to gain access to public

Substantial commitment to some form of
identity card, a term the public preferred
to the term ‘entitlement card’

2004: The Bill Version 1

Identity Cards Bill published 29

Ran out of time in Parliament and
effectively fell in March 2005

2005: Labour Manifesto

“We will introduce ID cards, including
biometric data like fingerprints, backed up
by a national register and rolling out
initially on a voluntary basis as people
renew their passports”

Design of the scheme

National Identity Register

Use of biometrics: face, finger, iris

Online verification: done everywhere

Audit trail of verifications

Use by and payment from the private

Paid for by the public

Multiple purposes

Must prevent identity theft

Must prevent terrorism

Must be in accordance with international

Must be designed by the Home Office

Must enable e
government and access to
government services

2005: The Bill version 2

Reintroduced after General Election

First reading May 2005

The LSE Identity Project

Main report: 27 June 2005

valuated the impact of identity cards on
national security, organized crime and
terrorism; policing; race, discrimination
and immigration; and identity fraud.

Reviewed the use of biometrics, the
security and safety of the National
Identity Register as well as international
obligations on identity documents and the
legal environment in the UK.

Considered issues of public trust and the
government IT environment in the UK

Presented an alternative blueprint for
identity management in the UK

LSE analysis not popular

“Some of the figures banded around about
cost are absolutely absurd”


Tony Blair

Mr Clarke said it was “technically
incompetent” and contained figures that
were “simply mad”. He accused the LSE
of running a campaign against ID cards.

Times Editorial, July 3, 2005

After Parliamentary debate

Legislation is passed March 2006

Scheme virtually identical to 2002 model

Amendment on cost reporting (s37 report)

New agency: UK Identity and Passport
Service launched on April 1


James Hall (ex Accenture) appointed Chief
Executive October 2006

Formal reviews

OGC Gateway reviews

Gateway Review 0: June 2003

Gateway Review 0 (strategic assessment):
January 2004

Gateway Review 1 (business justification):
July 2005

Gateway Review 0 (strategic assessment):
January 2006

Gateway Review 2 (procurement
strategy): April 2006


Cost Methodology and Cost Review

Outline Business Case Review

Extract published 7 November 2005

“We conclude that the methodology used to
cost the ID Cards proposals is robust and
appropriate for this stage of development”

Parliamentary comment

“We are not saying that we can go from
what we have now to a database covering
odd million people overnight, hoping
and praying that the IT and the
procurement will work and that
everything will be successful.
We have
learned the lessons of the past, and this project
has to be rolled out on a phased basis
” Tony
McNulty 18 October 2005

“Projects such as this will always face
such challenges and opinions in the field
of technology will differ. However, the
body of representations within industry,
existing project experience and research
by established experts in the field of
biometrics and database technology
indicate that
we are right to proceed with our
plans at this stage”

Baroness Scotland 31
October 2005

“The scheme has been through a series of
gateway reviews, and … that directly
builds on experience learned from past
failures. Some of the people involved in
the process have been involved in other
major public and private sector
procurement. …
Obviously, they have clearly
learned the lessons and know exactly what
they are doing now”

Andy Burnham 13
February 2006

“I cannot comment on a hypothetical
I am not anticipating something
major that would completely delay or derail the
I would like to reassure the
committee that nothing is more important
than getting this right” Joan Ryan 14 June

Procurement process starts
immediately …

Leaked emails: Sunday Times 9
July 2006

“Also even if everything went perfectly
(which it will not) it is very debatable
(given performance of Govt ICT projects)
whether whatever TNIR [The National
Identity Register] turns out to be (and that
is a worry in itself) can be procured,
delivered, tested and rolled out in just
over two years and whether the resources
exist within Govt and industry to run two
overlapping procurements”


“What benchmark in the Home Office do
we have that suggests that this is even
remotely feasible?
I conclude that we are
setting ourselves up to fail

Email from
David Foord, OGC Sent 8 June 2006

“I am not anticipating something major that
would completely delay or derail the

Joan Ryan 14 June 2006

“I conclude that we are setting ourselves up to
David Foord 9 June 2006

More reviews

John Reid: Full scale review of all Home
Office operations

“In December, the Government will be
publishing plans for the introduction of
the National Identity Scheme which will
provide more detail on the contribution
which existing assets could make to the
delivery of the scheme”

Sir James Crosby

Chancellor appoints Sir James Crosby to
lead Public Private Forum on Identity

Reports back April 2007

James Hall: IPS procurement will start
“next summer”

A radical redesign?

“The review identified that there may be
existing technical infrastructure and
systems that could be used as the basis for
reducing the delivery and cost risks
associated with the identity card project”

“I did not mean to imply that a solution
might involve stringing a number of
legacy databases together.
That has never
been part of this proposition
We have
always said that our requirements are for
a data repository that could be populated
one record at a time” Katherine Courtney

“A change in the way in which the scheme
is to be phased in would require
considerable reworking of the current
identity cards business plan and
procurement strategy. This would create
further delay in the programme and so
could add to costs” Baroness Scotland


Testing biometric technology

“The goal of the …Trial was to test the
processes and record customer experience
and attitude during the recording and
verification of facial, iris and fingerprint
biometrics, rather than test or develop the
biometric technology itself

it was not a
technology trial. We will be undertaking
further trials and testing in due course
do not have any immediate plans for further
trials at this stage”

“We anticipate

the recording of
fingerprints as a second biometric from
volunteers in late 2007. This prepares the
UK to match mandated EU standards for
both fingerprint and facial biometrics for
Schengen area passports”

Biometrics in s37 report

Discussion of expanding fingerprinting

No explicit mention of iris scanning

Likely future problems

Departmental buy


has, in consultation with the identity cards
programme, developed its current best
estimate of the costs and benefits of using
the ID cards scheme to enhance its
services and these have been incorporated
into the business case


has, in consultation with the identity cards
programme, developed its current best
estimate of the cost of using the ID cards
scheme to support the services which it
oversees and these costs have been
incorporated into the business case

“They are not running to us with cheques”

Andy Burnham

Public sector buy
in as part of Sir James
Crosby’s Public Private Forum on Identity


Cost of verification

Base case £0.57

Least appealing £2.00

Biometric or PIN verification?

“Biometrics are being used to more
strongly tie a verified identity to an
individual. In this way, biometrics can be
used along with an ID card to verify that
identity against the record held for that
Other forms of authentication, such as
PIN numbers and passwords can be stolen
along with a card so are much weaker at
linking a person to an identity”



Society will depend on the integrity of the

to establish the eligibility of each party to
conduct a transaction

to assign the limitations of liability in the
event of a failure

Government proposals are currently
‘unclear’ on this point

Security issues

Security issues

Flash and go verifications

Confidence in the security and integrity of
the system

August 2006: Office staff in the Home Office
had breached the security of the passport
database. Such problems would not arise with
the identity cards database as this would be a
‘completely different’ system

Scope shift

2005 International obligations

“US visa waiver scheme requirements for
passports to contain a

biometric from
October 2006”

“EU mandate of both facial biometrics
(August 2008) and fingerprints (2009) for
Member States’ passports
within the Schengen

2005 Terrorism

John Humphries: If we'd had ID cards, it
would have made no difference yesterday
(July 7 2005), would it?

Charles Clarke: I doubt it. I doubt it would
have made a difference, and I've never argued
and don't argue that ID cards would prevent
any particular act.

2005 November: Identity fraud

Up from £1.3 billion in 2002 to £1.7 billion in

Including £400 million “not included in the
2002 study

”The figures reveal that, rather than shooting
up, losses from credit and debit card ID theft
fell by 7% during the six months to June 30

from £16.1m to £15m
” November 2006

2006 November: Illegal immigration

Companies are expected to verify the legal
status of employees and can face large fines
for employing illegal workers

23 prosecutions under the Asylum and
Immigration Act between 1999 and 2003

Home Office used a firm that supplied five
illegal immigrants who worked as cleaners at
the Immigration and Nationality Directorate

2006 November: ‘Modernity’

“We need ID cards to secure our borders and
ease modern life. … The case for ID cards is a
case not about liberty but about the modern

Intellectually, technological determinism
seemed to us to reduce the intimate
intertwining of society and technology to a
simple cause


effect sequence

Multiple purposes revisited

prevent identity theft

prevent terrorism

Must be in accordance with
international obligations

Must be designed by the Home Office

Must enable e
government and access to
government services

It is currently planned that the
first identity cards for UK
citizens will be issued from 2009

Further information: