British Authorities Unable To Read ID Cards

Reading over on Slashdot this morning it seems that, despite ID cards already having already been introduced into Britain for foreign nationals, there is currently no technology in place which enables the police and other officials to read the biometric data that is stored on them, according to Silicon.com.

The scheme, which would introduce a mandatory ID card containing personally identifying data such as a persons fingerprints stored on a chip inside the card, is due to take effect over the next three years under current plans.

There does not at present appear to be any corroborating news sources for the claim that there is no card reader technology in place at the moment, but if it is correct then it could potentially mean that the amount which has been spent on this scheme, estimated in the region of billions of pounds, will have been wasted until such time as the technology is developed.

That so much money has been poured into a project which has still not reached fruition, has suffered countless setbacks along the way and that has been resolutely unpopular, and especially that this has been done so whilst Britain was declining into recession, strikes as nothing short of callousness that our government is still continuing with these proposals.

There has been some stiff opposition to the introduction of a mandatory identity card scheme in Britain ever since it was announced, with groups such as NO2ID running a pledge which states that its signatories will not register for an identity card should the scheme finally go ahead.

From a personal point of view, I am a firm supporter of the anti-ID card lobby, as any such a scheme runs the risk of endangering our future freedoms and could potentially represent a severe risk to our personal information should the system somehow be compromised, or even just bought down by human error.

Take, for instance, the times over the past few years in which personal data has been mishandled and lost: More than 100 memory sticks lost by the Ministry of Defence since 2004 and the loss of data on millions of child benefit claimants in 2007. With such events becoming seemingly more common I am not entirely comfortable with my own private details being stored in a central location.

If indeed the situation is as bad as claimed, then it represents yet another failing point in an already unneccessary and costly scheme.

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