Smoking the biometric crack

The Register reports Gordon Brown's interest in extending the ID cards scheme.

In the ID world according to Gordon, on the other hand, ID management will proceed down pretty much the path laid out by the architects of the ID scheme. It won't consider more decentralised and secure approaches that tailor levels of security to need, and although such matters will surely have to be considered by Brown's ID management task force (otherwise, what does it have to investigate?), Brown himself seems to be already pre-empting its report. Government ID management will however incur the vast levels of expense and complexity associated with the original ID scheme, and will, if Brown persists with the notion of expanding it to the private sector, collapse in even greater costs and complexities.

My views on all this are here and here.  In short – we need a decentralized and secure approach. They are building government cathedrals: we need bazaars.

Published by Owen Barder

Owen is Senior Fellow and Director for Europe at the Center for Global Development and a Visiting Professor in Practice at the London School of Economics. Owen was a civil servant for a quarter of a century, working in Number 10, the Treasury and the Department for International Development. Owen hosts the Development Drums podcast, and is the author Running for Fitness, the book and website. Owen is on Twitter and

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