Say you’re a recently elected government. You’ve got these wonderful plans to introduce a national ID card and a database that will reduce everyone to a number. And support for this scheme is falling. ANd then, out of the blue, comes a report that calls bullshit on all your claims: costs, benefits, risks, everything is questioned.

What do you do? Issue a calm, reasoned rebuttal, making your case in a logical fashion and acting as a government should? Or do you jump up and down on the writers and call them biased? Oh, and call the report mad and technically incompetent before reading it. That’s always a winner.

Now, I haven’t read the report myself. And I don’t know all the ins-and-outs of the technical side of the governments proposals. I do know a few things, though.

  • Major government IT projects have an impressive pedigree: delivered late, being vastly overbudget, generally not working in the manner they’re supposed to right until they’re due to be replaced.
  • Existing IT projects have either been supported or ignored by the public. Unlike any ID scheme, which will have one or two people out there trying their best to throw spanners into the works.
  • If the government will not respond to logical and reasonable questioning about a scheme what will forever change the relationship between citizen and state, then they don’t give a shit about the opinion of the citizens.

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