7 March 2008
The Government has finally published the report of Sir James Crosby, who was commissioned by Gordon Brown when chancellor , to study identity
management. Crosby’s conclusions set out 10 clear principles for the design
of a “consumer-driven universal ID assurance system” scheme. The Home Office scheme breaks every one of them.
The report was overshadowed by yesterday’s announcements about the ID scheme timetable from the Home Secretary, which were made several hours before the Crosby Report was released. NO2ID condemns this mendacious news management.
Jacqui Smith’s speech claimed Crosby in support of her plans. The opposite is true.
The principles are:
1. The purpose of any scheme should be restricted to enabling citizens to assert their identity
… BROKEN. The Government’s ID scheme is explicitly for government functions.
2. Governance should inspire trust. It should be independent of Government
… BROKEN. The Government’s ID scheme is run by a Home Office agency, and will be overseen by a commissioner who reports to the Home Secretary.
3. The amount of data stored should be minimised. Full biometric images (other than photographs) should not be kept 
… BROKEN. The Identity Cards Act 2006 lists FIFTY categories of information that will be kept, and that information will build up over a lifetime. For example, not just a current contact address, but every address
at which you’ve ever lived anywhere in the world.
4. Citizens should “own” their entry. It should not be possible, except for national security, for any data to be shared without informed consent
… BROKEN. The Government’s ID scheme is designed to propagate information between government agencies, without (or with coerced) consent.
5. Enrolment should minimise costs and give citizens a hassle-free experience
… BROKEN. The Government’s ID Scheme has been sold on the ’security’ provided by personal interview and fingerprinting at one of the IPS’s 69
newly commissioned interrogation centres.
6. To respond to consumers and give benefits, it should be capable of being rolled out quickly
… BROKEN. There is a ten-year timetable, one set by the means of coercion Government intends to use, not any consumer demand. The pace of an already unpopular  scheme will not be market-driven.
7. Citizens who lose cards or whose identity is compromised should be able to get it fixed quickly and efficiently
… BROKEN. Passports applications, the model for ID, are now slower and much more inconvenient as a direct result of merging them into the ID scheme.
8. The scheme’s systems should work with existing, efficient, bank systems to reduce risks
… BROKEN. The Government’s ID scheme is being built on the DWP’s Citizen Information Service systems, which are already full of junk data.
9. To engage consumers enrolment and cards should be provided free of charge
… BROKEN. The Government ID scheme is notionally self-funding, with both charges and a system of heavy penalties to compel compliance. Enrolment may involve substantial travel and costs for some.
10. The market should play a role in creating standards, to ensure ease of use and minimise costs
… BROKEN. The Government offers a centralised, top-down scheme, specified by Whitehall in secret, and implemented by non-competing contractors. This amounts to nationalising personal identity as a Government monopoly.
Commenting on the Crosby Review and the latest wave of Home Office research on public attitude towards the scheme Phil Booth, NO2ID’s National
“Jacqui Smith may boast about the “undoubted” benefits of ID cards, but her own department’s research shows that only 1 in 4 people thinks it can
deliver. That’s a lot of doubt.
“Though it has had access through Sir James and others to the best advice, the Home Office has learned nothing. To continue the plan it first thought
of it traduces or obfuscates the views of real experts. Nothing has changed since it first dreamed up the plan.
“When he should listen to the advice he sought and have the courage to scrap a scheme that doesn’t match up, Gordon Brown is feebly doing what the Home Office tells him.”
Notes for editors
1) The Crosby Review, entitled ‘Challenges and Opportunities in Identity Assurance’, is available here:
2) Full images of fingerprints would have to be stored because international standards for Machine Readable Travel Documents dictate that they must, if
the ID card is to be treated as a passport ‘lite’. It does not have to be.Nor is there any existing requirement to store all ten fingerprints. Perhaps
not coincidentally, storing full biometric images would also facilitate biometric ‘fishing expeditions’ by the police and others.
3) The last 4 independent polls NO2ID has seen show that more people oppose ID cards than want them:
Populus poll for the Times, 21/11/07 – 55% “drop ID cards”, 29% “go ahead with ID cardS”:
BPIX poll for the Mail on Sunday, 25/11/08 – 46% opposed to ID cards, 43% in favour:
YouGov poll for the Telegraph, 3/12/07 – 48% against ID cards, 43% in favour:
ICM poll for the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust Ltd, 6/2/08 – 50% “bad idea”, 47% “good idea”:
4) The latest ‘wave’ of Home Office polling prepared by COI Research for IPS Business Development & Marketing can be found here:
As with previous waves, the data shows that while three-quarters of people consider the claimed benefits to be “very important”, still only just over
one quarter consider them to be “very believable”. The number who “disagree strongly” with the National Identity Scheme has increased by 4% since October 2007.
NO2ID is the UK-wide non-partisan campaign against ID cards and the database state. See http://www.no2id.net/dbstate.php for a list of ‘database state’ initiatives that NO2ID is actively opposing.