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Your views: ID cards are killed off

IT PRO readers are split over the issue of ID cards, with some saying scrapping the scheme is even more of a waste of cash than going ahead with them.

ID cards

The new coalition government has made a number of swift moves affecting the tech world, notably scrapping the controversial ID card scheme.

Ending the expensive, tech-heavy programme will have repercussions on balance sheets across the sector, but many are happy to see the back of the scheme.

We asked readers of our newsletter whether they thought killing off ID cards was a good idea. A slim majority favour the LibDem and Conservative move to ditch the identity scheme.

Good move, government

Gary was succinct in his approval: "Good - this should have been strangled at birth."

Ian also applauded the move, noting criminals weren't likely to register. "I totally agree with dropping ID cards, like a lot of recent measures all they would do is make punishing the innocent easier. A true terrorist or criminal would have forged ID - the relatively law abiding citizen would be the ones most often affected, never mind the cost to everyone."

Martin suggested the government should prove it's ability to protect our data first. "I think they need to go 10 years without losing peoples data before they can think about introducing an ID card."

Neil summed it all up nicely. "They would not have prevented terrorist offences or other crime, but would have put a burden on all of us - both a money cost and a an offense against civil liberties," he wrote.

"Given the government's history of massive failure in major IT projects it is highly unlikely cost targets would have been met and it is unlikely it would have worked as expected," he added. "ID cards would have become a hacker's paradise."

Why drop it?

Daniel can't understand what all the fuss is about. "Criminals hide behind anonymity and if you have nothing to hide then what's the problem?"

Neither did Glenn. "If we want to travel, we have passports; in my opinion, not a lot of difference."

Bob believed that only the guilty need worry about ID cards. "I have no problems with an ID card at all. If you are pure in heart and have nothing to hide then you cannot possibly have any objections at all to an ID card?"

Rupert argues that dropping the database behind the scheme is the real loss. "The power of the ID cards idea was to centralise all the disparate databases about an individual and thence protect the individual's identity."

"The actual cards were a red herring, a hook to hang the idea of the project onto for those too technologically challenged or arrogant to accept the concept of a database," he added. "The ID cards themselves have now become a sacrificial lamb to these luddites."

Phillip would have liked to have an ID card, but thinks the project went out of control. "I can understand the new government's move to cancel the scheme, if only to save money, but wouldn't it be better to merely simplify it and go back to the basic idea?

What next?

Kelvin happily applied for an ID card, but it looks like he'll never be able to use it. "I have recently acquired an identity card and now use it all the time for travel purposes, for example and I fail to see why it seems to be such an issue. If they are going to be stopped, will I be able to continue to use mine?"

John has the same question: "I should like to know where that leaves anyone who already has an ID card - is it still a legal alternative travel document and has it any validity at all?"

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