UK ID card scheme – defeated in the House of Lords

By EDRi · January 18, 2006

On 17 January 2006, a full House of Lords debated at length the purposes,
costs, and details of the proposed identity cards scheme. And in three votes
serious obstacles were raised against the Government. The Government
contends that the card is essential for combating crime, illegal
immigration, and identity theft, and can be achieved for an operating cost
of 584 million pounds per year. Other estimates vary widely, as some have
questioned the ability of the scheme to be delivered, or to be delivered at
cost, and the likelihood that the delivered system will have the desired

The first vote was on a set of amendments that required the Government to
halt the scheme until detailed costs could be clarified. The vote was 237 to
156 in favour of the amendment, setting the Government back by 81 votes. The
second amendment demanded that there be tighter security on the recording
the storing of personal data that is central to the scheme. This vote was
206 to 144 in favour of the amendment. The third amendment changed one of
the purposes of the scheme from ‘securing efficient and effective provision
of public services’ to preventing ‘illegal and fraudulent access to public
services’. The Government lost, as the vote in support of the amendment was
194 to 141.
Conservative leader David Cameron vowed on Sunday to oppose the ID card
plans, calling them “un-British”. “I don’t like the idea that you have to
have this bit of paper just for existing,” he told BBC.

Recently, the London School of Economics ‘Identity Project’ released a
report outlining some issue areas that deserve greater attention.
The report says that ID cards could in principle have some benefits to
citizens, but it criticizes the current proposal for lacking well-defined
goals; for example, the government never clearly explained what impact ID
cards would have on identity theft and terrorism. Moreover, the report says,
the ID cards’ proponents hugely underestimated the project’s cost. The
government projection is £584 million per year, or about £5.8 billion for
the expected 10-year rollout. But the LSE study estimated the expenditures
at £10.6 billion to £19.2 billion. The LSE researchers also concluded that
the project’s deepest flaws are of a technical nature. “The controversy,
challenges, and threats arising from the Government’s identity proposals,”
they wrote, “are largely due to the technological design itself.”
The bill will continue in Report Stage in the coming weeks before it is sent
back to the House of Commons for consideration of the Lords amendments. In
the coming weeks the Lords are to review even more contentious aspects to
the bill, including the binding between the ID card and the passport, making
the identity card a voluntary scheme.

UK Government loses crucial votes on ID card (17 01 2006)[347]=x-347-507374

Lords defeat for ID cards scheme (17 01 2006)

Loser: Britain’s Identity Crisis (January 2006)

London School of Economics ‘Identity Project’

Thanks to Simon Davies, Privacy International