The Home Office hid the terrible state of affairs regarding the ID card scheme by holding back a report for a year.
The findings have been described by rights groups as “disgraceful.”
The final report by the Independent Scheme Advisory Panel (ISAP) was quietly released on the 4 January, more than a year after it was written and after it had been modified. It identified inadequate data security precautions and threats posed by the systems’ complexity.
Questions about what the government hoped to gain from the scheme also cropped up.
According to NO2ID the delayed report isn’t anything new. It pointed out that in the past it had also failed to get any responses to any FOI requests.
Michael Parker, told TechEye: It is no surprise to find that internal reports damning the Identity Card scheme are being unearthed only after a change of government. Each year brought new internal and independent reviews describing the scheme’s massive flaws. Yet ministers and Home Office bureaucrats soldiered on regardless, moving heaven and earth to bury reports, fight freedom of information requests and keep the truth from the public.
“The Identity Card Scheme was a catastrophe waiting to happen. It is dead, but we must be sure the bureaucratic urge to build dossiers on the public and watch over them dies with it.”
Alex Deane director at Big Brother Watch also shared the same view.
“The suppression of this report is absolutely disgraceful. It follows a pattern of recent behaviour from government agencies, who withhold information harmful to their reputation despite the clear obligation on them to be open with public data – after all, we pay for their activities and for these reports, and such reports are about aspects of the way we all live and will be governed in the future,” he told TechEye.
“This not only reveals a dishonest approach to information – it also reveals typical administrative incompetence with large, intrusive databases. Government departments constantly want more power over us, but are constantly too incompetent to use it.”
And the ID Scheme is so hated that even the Home Office has decided to have a rant about it.
A spokesman for the agency told us: “The Identity Card Scheme represented the worst of government. It was intrusive, bullying, ineffective and expensive.
“That is why the first Home Office Bill of this Coalition Government, which received Royal Assent on Tuesday, scrapped ID cards and the National Identity Register.
“The Government is committed to scaling back the power of the state and restoring civil liberties. This is just the first step in the process of restoring and maintaining our freedoms.”
When the scheme was closed down in May, it apparently left £6.5 million worth of pre-purchased IT hardware sitting in boxes which will probably never see the light of day.