The introduction of a compulsory national identity card is looking increasingly unlikely as more obstacles to the scheme come to the surface.
Several technologies were mooted for the plans ranging from smart cards to digital fingerprints. But last week vnunet.com reported a major hiccup in the plan, which could see implementation taking three years and £250m to accomplish.
Following Prime Minister Tony Blair's speech yesterday at the Labour Party conference in Brighton, it now looks as though Downing Street is considering whether the scheme has "any merit at all".
It appears that Home Secretary David Blunkett is the only member of Parliament standing in favour of the national ID card as a method of fighting crime and terrorism.
In a BBC1 interview with Sir David Frost last week, Blair admitted that the Government was holding off on its decision. "We're considering all the various aspects of it. Very big step this, got to get it right, got to make sure that it's effective," he said.
The Prime Minister acknowledged the argument that if terrorists can fake passports they can fake ID cards, and that the only people with genuine ID cards will be law-abiding citizens who will face additional hassles.
"Would ID cards be effective in this way?" he asked. Perhaps not, "but they may be effective in other ways in terms of fraud, in terms of social security benefits and so on".
"We don't want to make a move that, on analysis, doesn't deliver the result we want it to," he added.
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