an enterprise of great advantage, but none to know what it is

Iduntity cards. Jamie quotes a Computer Weekly article on a “business breakfast” with Jacqui Smith as proof of private sector interest in the project. A business breakfast with Jacqui Smith; the horror. I remember that a “breakfast briefing” with a certain mobile industry luminary who would always have it at Claridges when he was in London always consisted of an interview and no breakfast, but at least it wasn’t no breakfast with Jacqui Smith.

You may remember that the government has consistently refused to cost either the card readers, none of which exist, or the enrolment process, by attributing it to the private sector fairy.

However, no company has ever gone public and stated their interest in the scheme. So the CW story is interesting because it says that

Post offices, pharmacists, supermarkets, high street chemists, local authorities and universities have expressed an interest in taking the fingerprints and photos of applicants for ID cards.

In fact quite a lot of local authorities and universities have expressed refusal to cooperate in the scheme. But no company is actually mentioned in the story; there are no names, nor any suggestion of what constituted “interest”.

CW has been historically the absolute best news source on ID cards, but I find this a little strange, and it strikes me as sounding a lot like the official line. It also doesn’t say if any of the people who expressed an interest were present, or if so, whether they expressed it at the time.

However, there is some interesting news in here; it seems that there is a new PR strategy afoot.

She introduced a well-made and expensive film which portrayed the ID card as a designer brand. “Identity: what does it mean? Sometimes it’s about individuality, to say that you are you.”…It sounds a good business arrangement, especially for post offices, which struggle to exist.

It’s a twofer – aspirational property-bubble bollocks plus populist-cum-Prince Charles sentimentality about sub-post offices. Sick bucket to the guy with the laptop!

Interestingly, those people who have expressed any thoughts from the private sector sound quite different. Here’s another CW story:

Confederation of British Industry deputy director general John Cridland questioned the robustness of the enrolment process, saying, “One sticking point is the requirement on the private sector to provide information that can be used to verify data held on the national register without making clear who will be liable for the accuracy of the information and how it will be used. The government must address this as a matter of urgency if it wants to build confidence in the scheme.”

The British Bankers Association said the banking industry had no plans to use biometrics to authenticate customers or transactions.

By the way, the Manchester trial will not actually provide any cards, because neither they nor the NIR will be ready. You’ll be able to “pre-register”, which sounds a lot like paying £30 for sweet fuck all. I’m more than interested to know exactly who will sign up.

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