UK spent 6.6 billion on new ID's, didnt buy one card reader

The British government has spent 6.6 billion dollars for a new identity card program that is based around biometrics. Like any new ID card program it is designed to help enhance security for everyone from public officials to private citizens. The problem is that there is not one card reader in the entire country, not at any police station, customs locations, anywhere in the entire country.

It would be understandable if the government had a plan to purchase card readers but it does not.

"We have always said that we would roll out the scheme incrementally. The card will not be as useful as it could be until we have got the volumes out there. There's no prospect in the immediate future for the government directing anybody that you have to buy those things [readers] because we would be placing a burden on these organizations."

She continues, "The manufacturers of the machines have also got to decide whether it is worth their while to produce them. I think that organizations will decide in time that it is better, quicker and cheaper to have them."

The government produced a 6.6 billon dollar piece of plastic that no one can read and thus it acts like any other form of identification. If this isn't a giant face-palm, then the term needs a new definition.

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33 Comments

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'forgot to buy a card reader' .. nonsense!!

.. perhaps the poster should make sure of the facts ..

Who reads dailytech.com anyway?

i once was contracted to look at a postal distribution system for a ministry. At the time they had bought a mainframe and gave the specifications as to capacity and such.
The mainframe was installed (10.000.000 euro's) and then they system manager asked , well how do we run it?
The manufacturer: Well, you write an operating system, and then you write the program to run on top.

5 years later and almost the same amount spend once more on consultants they scrapped it, never got i to function

Good god I hate this country so much, why cant we get anything right, we shouldn't even be doing this the howl big brother thing, then the idouts get it hugely wrong and dont order the equipment to needed. I think its time to call this project a day, anyone know of an online portion I can sign against this.

I don't mind having an ID card, we'll all have them in the future anyway, but no way am I paying for it!

My passport should be good enough and that's expensive!

Mr Spoon said,
I don't mind having an ID card, we'll all have them in the future anyway, but no way am I paying for it!

My passport should be good enough and that's expensive!

Sorry but by 2015 it will be compulsory to get it.

thealexweb said,


Sorry but by 2015 it will be compulsory to get it.


Not if (or perhaps that should be when) the Conservatives win the next general election which has to be before June 2010. They plan to scrap ID cards.

Forensis said,

Not if (or perhaps that should be when) the Conservatives win the next general election which has to be before June 2010. They plan to scrap ID cards.

Sorry I looked it up again I got a few things wrong. By 2015 everyone in the country would have one and many people will have them by 2010. Mid 2010 is the point of no return for the project. By then I it would make financial incompetence to cancel the project considering a lot of people will have them and all the money that has been invested in the project.

Sorry , but financial competence is not exactly a strong point of the current labour government. Especially where it comes to IT related projects!

LOL, you think the Conservatives will scrap the plan? As if, they're as bad a Labour. They're basically the same party, policy wise.

Lol, and they are going to try and make students, who are poor enough from the rubbish loans that we get from the government for around 70-90 quid? well they can stick that....

cold-peak said,
Lol, and they are going to try and make students, who are poor enough from the rubbish loans that we get from the government for around 70-90 quid? well they can stick that....

Be thankful you are in a country that you can get an education!

stevember said,
Be thankful you are in a country that you can get an education!

So we should bend over and take it just because we have an education system? What a load of rubbish!

cold-peak said,
Lol, and they are going to try and make students, who are poor enough from the rubbish loans that we get from the government for around 70-90 quid? well they can stick that....

I was a student, and I have about £10,000 worth of debt, but I don't worry about it as the amount you pay back is so small, its hardly noticable.

peacemf said,
honestly why do we need these!???
can it be incorperated into the driving licence??

It will replace the driving license and the passport as well as other forms of ID in to one unified whole.

peacemf said,
honestly why do we need these!???
can it be incorperated into the driving licence??

will it replacethe driving license? I thought the driving license card comformed to some EU+switzerland standard. And you have to have in mind that the card has to be valid also for those who don't have a drivers license.

This is the new Portuguese Cartão De Cidadão (Citizen's Card):


ID + Fiscal + Health + Social Security + Voting (to be implemented) altogether (but not a single number card)

The Citizen's Card replaces the cards of the main bodies of the Portuguese Government, which the citizen will, at start, have to interact during the course of its life.

It's a basic identifying card that will not associate its bearer to particular abilities, rights and obligations, beyond the scope that gives the status of national citizen of the Portuguese Republic.

And that's why the driver's license isn't merged with this card.

the voting is already implemented , since you do lose the old card when you receive the new one ;)

ok that i doubt there will be a reader but they can check the number :P

Akaruz said,
the voting is already implemented , since you do lose the old card when you receive the new one ;)

Well, from what I heard the voting card is not and will not be implemented. What they are doing right now is enabling voting via your ID card number.

tiagosilva29 said,
This is the new Portuguese Cartão De Cidadão (Citizen's Card):


ID + Fiscal + Health + Social Security + Voting (to be implemented) altogether (but not a single number card)

The Citizen's Card replaces the cards of the main bodies of the Portuguese Government, which the citizen will, at start, have to interact during the course of its life.

It's a basic identifying card that will not associate its bearer to particular abilities, rights and obligations, beyond the scope that gives the status of national citizen of the Portuguese Republic.


And that's why the driver's license isn't merged with this card.



OMFG that Id has my Birthday O.o

Why can't they develop a technology which is difficult to forge, yet can be verified without fancy equipment?

I've noticed that clerks in American shops are FINALLY beginning to look at the watermarks on banknotes-- we've just had them since the 1996 series.

Well, the UK doesnt even require IDs in the first place (like spain for example), and if they were to introduce an ID card it's only logical that they take the steps for a future digitalisation. My point is, they're okay now without ID cards, they'll be just as okay with ID cards without readers, after all, a person can read them. They'll eventually get the readers.

I hate how the articles on neowin now always have the lamest and ignornat opinion of the writer.

Just like the new VISA cards in canada the ones with the Chip now.. and require a pin code...they need different card readers as well, and businesses will probably be charged for them. It's not a face palm that they made a new secure technology and no one can use it.. it will obviously take time for people /orgainzations to buy and get sereaders. Many will be those to whom security is a high priority.

SimNet said,
I hate how the articles on neowin now always have the lamest and ignornat opinion of the writer.

I suppose that's where Neowin's slogan "Where unprofessional journalism looks better" comes in. It annoys me too, but the site is (normally) interesting enough to overlook it. Unfortunately too many of the sites I like to visit have crappy opinions embedded in the articles, such as Ars Technica and particularly Slashdot.

One could say the opinions are harmless and you either agree with them or not, but if they're based on totally false info then true, it's annoying. But for some people it's part of what they like about Neowin, or any other tech site.

Well although I agree its a waste of money this article is full of factual mistakes.

It would be understandable if the government had a plan to purchase card readers but it does not.

... err yes they do plan to. Theres just no set times yet.

Also whats the point in buying readers when the cards arent even out yet - the earliest cards reportedly being rolled out late this year, but I dont think thats even confirmed. This is still being developed/tested, so theres no point in making places require readers yet, if they did that then in a few year when the rolled the cards out they most likely wouldn't work as predicted. Theyre doing it the logical way, slowly rolling out the cards and when they do that they start deploying the readers. Why buy readers when the cards do exist? How is this news its like saying Microsoft spend xyz on windows 7 but havent sold a single copy???

I think he means there are no concrete plans to do so. They're not even asking companies to make the readers yet; they're waiting for the companies to want to do it themselves.