The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) has published a damning report on the introduction of biometric-based national ID cards in the
The release of the report comes as Ministers prepare for a number of votes in the House of Lords, which could see Labour rebels unite with opposition peers to derail the scheme. One opposition amendment proposes that ID cards should not be introduced until a proper investigation into costs and benefits has been performed.
The LSE’s project’s first report caused uproar when it suggested that costs of the
The new report levels criticism at the government over the secrecy of the ID planning process, it claims that statements made by the Home Office on this subject have been conflicting and that there has been a disregard for Parliament’s right to consider important costs and facts related to the scheme.
The report recommends that planning for the ID card be removed from the Home Office and given to Treasury. Its authors argue that the Home Office is not the appropriate department to deliver or operate the scheme. The report states: “At the outset, the LSE Identity Project supported the implementation of an identity scheme in principle but expressed significant concerns regarding the Home Office proposal. In light of the numerous inconsistencies and conflicts that have emerged, serious unanswered concerns that remain, project dynamics that are dysfunctional and potential outcomes that may be harmful to the public interest we can now no longer support even the principle of an identity scheme owned and operated by the Home Office.”
The report does not publish any new cost estimates for the card scheme, blaming the government for refusing to disclose important
In the report’s introductory letter, LSE director Howard Davies says: “We believe the Government’s proposals can only benefit from
These comments from Davies no doubt refer to the war of words that followed the release of the first report, which led to the report being branded: “technically incompetent”, “absurd”, a “fabrication” and “highly partisan”.
LSE says that some people claimed that the author of the report was LSE visiting fellow Simon Davies and that it should be renamed ’the Davies report’. (Davies is also well known as the director of Privacy International, an extremely vocal UK-based human rights group.)
This latest report may not have the same impact as its predecessor, but the fact that Davies is still involved will no doubt evoke similar emotions.
The new Identity Project Report – http://is.lse.ac.uk/IDcard/statusreport.pdf
The first Identity Project Report – http://is.lse.ac.uk/idcard/identitysummary.pdf