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Making national identity work

The government should not scrap its ID scheme but radically rethink it. It should postpone the idea of the ID card and focus instead on allocating a unique national identity number, backed by biometrics, to each citizen—that is all that needs to be held in a national register

By David Birch   October 2007

Gordon Brown’s first six months in power present an opportunity to review many policy commitments, and one that is sure to be on his list is the national identity card scheme. It remains, in principle, popular with the public, but support is ebbing away as some of the civil libertarian attacks start to hit home and the costs rise. A useful checkpoint is coming up. Last year, as chancellor, Brown commissioned a public-private forum on identity management under the former head of HBOS, James Crosby, to look at the potential uses of the proposed scheme by business. The forum is…

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