UK ID Card to cost over 435 euro per person

By EDRi · June 2, 2005

Experts from the London School of Economics have calculated the true cost of the planned ID card in the UK and conclude it will be be three times as high as the government estimates. Introducing the card will cost over 18 billion pounds (26,6 billion euro), or 435 euro per inhabitant of the UK in stead of the estimated 93 pounds (almost 138 euro).

The LSE report mentions 3 issues seriously under-calculated by the Treasury; the cost of each reader, the lifetime of a card and the processing of individual changes. In stead of 250-750 pound per reader, 3.000-4.000 pound is more likely. The researchers find the assumed 10-year life span of a card equally dubious. In order to remain reliable, biometric data such as fingerprints and facial images need to be re-scanned every five years. Finally, the researchers point at hidden costs of 1 to 4 billion pounds for human resources to process a high number of changes in the register.

On 25 May government reintroduced the hotly contested Identity Cards Bill to the House of Commons. The chip on the card will contain three identifiers: facial recognition, iris scanning and fingerprinting. According to Privacy International “the controversial Bill is almost identical to the legislation that fell before the general election. There is a total of 25 changes in the new Bill, many of which are cosmetic or superficial.” On 30 May PI published a report on the dangers of social exclusion, based on analysis of the biometrics trial on 10.000 volunteers conducted by the UK Passport Service. They conclude: “More than four million disabled people will probably encounter significant problems when using the proposed combination of biometric techniques. Extrapolating from this research, more than a million disabled people will suffer grave and perhaps insurmountable problems accessing public services, while more than 60,000 disabled people will not be able to register their biometrics in any way with the proposed identity scheme.”

Text of the proposed Identity Cards Bill (25.05.2005)

ID cards to cost £300 per person (29.05.2005),6903,1494944,00.html

PI report, UK Identity Cards and Social Exclusion (30.05.2005)[347]=x-347-228833