The Office of Government Commerce, an Agency of Her Majesty's Treasury, has finally publish the two Stage Zero Gateway Reviews of the ID Cards programme
It has taken- 1510 days i.e. 4 years 1 month 18 days after the initial Freedom of Information Act request, which should, according to the law, and the principle of "open government" and public transparency, have taken no more than "20 working days".
The OGC has spent at least £120,000 on legal fees alone, and probably a similar amount of public money again has been spent by the Information Commissioner's Office and the Information Tribunal.
See the OGC FOIA disclosure page.
Here are the two documents, which were kept so secret, that the OGC initially refused to let even the Information Commissioner have copies of them.
Here are the documents which caused the Government to invoke the Bill of Rights 1689 against the Information Tribunal's first decision to support the Information Commissioner''s decision to permit full disclosure.
Both the information Tribunals decided to redact or censor the names of the Assessors doing the Gateway Reviews,and the names of the people who were interviewed about the project.
- Home Office ID Cards Programe Gate 0 Report June 2003 (PDF, 92KB) (N.B. the misspelling of "Programme")
- Home Office ID Cards Programme Gate 0 Report January 2004 (PDF, 91KB)
Here is some early commentary and analysis:
- Computer Weekly: Government publishes 'secret' ID card reviews
- Philip Johnson in The Telegraph: Three Line Whip blog: Secret ID card reviews published at last
- The NO2ID campaign discussion forum thread:: OGC Gateway Reviews published
Spy Blog might be persuaded to publish a detailed analysis later, but here are some quick thoughts:
- 2003 report - traffic light status RED
- No adequate attempts to quantify "Costs, benefits and value for money"
- Papiere Bitte !
"The Police felt that the absence of any obligation to carry or produce identity cards would substantially remove the administrative savings and some of the other advantages that
- 2004 report - traffic light status AMBER
- The name "Helen Edwards" appears underacted, but technically she was not interviewed as part of this Gateway Review, but moved in to the Senior Responsible Officer role immediately afterwards, according to the report.
- It is ridiculous that the Name of the Permanent Secreatry to the Home Office at the timeof these Gateway Reviews i.e. Sir John Gieve KCB, has been redacted or censored
- "Biometrics. There is general agreement that there should be a second biometric
as well as the photograph (or digital photograph). On the assumption that DNA
would be too expensive, however, should it be fingerprints or irises (or both)?
How scalable are the two technologies? And what are the cost implications? "
So only the cost prevented DNA from being touted as a biometric identifier on this mass surveillance centralised database, there was no objection on privacy, moral, ethical or religious grounds.
- Note the Job Titles / Departments:of the redacted Names of those interviewed. Apart from the Home Office central staff and their agencies, there was Staffordshire Police (ACPO - Association of Chief Police Officers) , APACS (Association for Payment Clearing Services) , DVLA (Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency), ODPM (Office of the Deputy Prime Minister), DWP (Department for Work and Pensions), Inland revenue (before it became part of Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs), Office for National Statistics, FCO (Foreign & Commonwealth Office), Dft (Department for Transport). The 2003 report also had the Treasury Solicitors, Fujitsu Consulting (formerly ICL, one of the main Government IT suppliers,but not experts in biometrics or smart cards) and an Independent Consultant of some sort.
- Nobody from GCHQ / CESG, the people whose job it is to make sure that Government computers and communications are secure against attack or negligence.
- No Biometrics or Computer Security companies or organisations appear to have been asked their opinion of the "risks", in either 2003 or 2004.
- No consultation with wider Private Sector Business e.g. travel and transport.
APACS does not represent anything but the Clearing Banks / Credit card processors. i.e.not even all of the Financial Services sector like mortgage lenders or the insurance industry. There does not even seem to have been any input from the Department of Trade and Industry or from the Deprtment for Health, , in spite of the the claim that the "Entitlement Cards" were to be used to prevent illegal employment or use of the National Health Service.
- No consultation with Civil Liberties Groups
- No Consultation with the Public about the chosen ID Card scheme (one of many possible ones)
- There is nothing in these two reports that could not have been published to help to inform the public the Parliamentary debates and scrutiny of the first attempt at the Identity Cards Act in 2005.
Identity Cards would offer."