Identity Card Technologies: Scientific Advice, Risk and Evidence
HC 1032, Sixth Report of Session 2005-06
- House of Commons Science and Technology Committee
- TSO (The Stationery Office)
This report, 'Identity Card Technologies: Scientific Advice, Risk and Evidence (HC 1032)', focuses upon the Home Office's identity cards scheme, which uses various technologies including biometrics, information and communication technology (ICT), and smart cards. It explores the ways in which scientific advice, risk, and evidence are being managed in relation to technologies that are continually developing. The Home Office has followed good practice by the establishment of advisory committees, the use of Office of Government Commerce (OGC) Gateway Reviews and the development of risk management strategies, along with a policy of gradual implementation.
However, the Committee has identified weaknesses in the use of scientific advice and evidence. There has been a lack of transparency surrounding the incorporation of scientific advice, the procurement process and the ICT system. Consultations have been limited in scope and their objectives have been unclear. Only some aspects of the scheme such as the biometrics have been determined. The Home Office's decisions demonstrate an inconsistent approach to scientific evidence, and the Committee is concerned that choices regarding biometric technology have preceded trials. With extensive trailing still to take place, the Committee is sceptical about the validity of projected costs.
The Committee recommends that the Home Office seeks advice on ICT from senior and experienced professionals and establishes an ICT assurance committee. It is crucial that the Home Office increases clarity and transparency across the programme, not only in problem areas. The programme should also be flexible enough to change should evidence emerge that contradicts existing assumptions.
|Format||Paperback||Published||04 Aug 2006|
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