In what could be seen as an ironical case, former Home Secretary David Blunkett said that the UK government should call off plans to introduce identity cards for all, eight years after he first brought in the idea.
Addressing the security conference Infosec 2009 in London, Mr. Blunkett said the ambitious identity card scheme should be scrapped, instead, the government should go for introducing mandatory biometric passports. He further asserted that he has already suggested the idea to existing Home Secretary Jacqui Smith.
When asked about whether ID cards could be dropped, Mr. Blunkett responded by saying, “I think it is possible to mandate biometric passports. Most people already have a passport but they might want something more convenient to carry around than the current passport and may be able to have it as a piece of plastic for an extra cost”.
He further asserted that people were relatively less concerned about the Passport agency than mythical identity database. His fresh remarks further fuelled the speculations that the government could eventually abandon the £5 billion ID card scheme as a part of cost cutting exercise amid global economic downturn.
Despite all rumours and speculations sparked from Mr. Blunkett’s remarks, a spokesperson to Home Office insisted that ID cards scheme would move ahead.
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Ironic it is indeed. It seems as if Blunkett is trying to get back into politics or at least in the public eye. As the former Home Secretary, he knows that his words count and perhaps his suggestion could be useful. The ID Card project is quickly becoming a massively expensive endeavour. But then it is better to have two pieces of identification rather than one.