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Coalition kills ID cards, Digital Economy Act's fate uncertain

ID cards have been scrapped under the Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition deal, but it remains unclear about what is to be done with the Digital Economy Act.

The dust has not yet settled following yesterday's turbulent events that resulted in a coalition government between the Lib Dems and Tories, but some of the affects on the tech world have already become clear.

The ID card scheme is to be scrapped under the agreements of the new authority formed between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats.

Both parties had shown their opposition to the controversial programme before the election result, and now the decision to abolish it has been confirmed.

A statement from the Identity & Passport Service, a branch of the Home Office, read: "Both Parties that now form the new Government stated in their manifestos that they will cancel Identity Cards and the National Identity Register."

It added: "We will announce in due course how this will be achieved. Applications can continue to be made for ID cards but we would advise anyone thinking of applying to wait for further announcements."


Michael Parker, a spokesperson for anti-ID card group NO2ID, said that it has been a "complete reversal of fortune" and the organisation is looking forward to seeing the scheme come to an end.

It remains unclear, however, how the plans will be rolled back. Contracts have already been signed to get the initiative rolling, but Parker does not believe this will be much of a hindrance to ending the Labour-piloted project.

He told IT PRO that the plans had not properly come into existence and were only part of a "strong desire in the heads of senior civil servants and Labour ministers".

"There are a few contracts that have been awarded but they largely have been swallowed up by the passport upgrade and they are not specifically ID cards," he added.

He said: "I think the main thing to remove was the desire to bring it [the ID card scheme] in."

Digital Economy Act - a repeal on the way?

While details on the ID card scheme appear to be clear, plans for dealing with the Digital Economy Act are not so lucid.

To some extent, both parties took umbrage with the legislation, which includes the allowance to shut off internet connections of persistent illegal file sharers and to shut down websites hosting copyright material.

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