European Citizen Card
The shadow home secretary, Chris Grayling, has today written to the five main companies involved in the national identity card project warning them that further contracts will be scrapped by an incoming Conservative government. See here.
He also claims that the government is bent on a \"poison pill strategy\" by building penalties into new contracts designed to prevent the cancellation of the projects.
But the most significant part of Grayling's letter discloses that the Conservatives will not cancel the two main contracts signed in March to upgrade the passport/identity card application system and set up a biometric database which form the main building blocks of the project. Perhaps he realises that he may have little control over this matter if/when the Lisbon
Constitution Treaty comes into force.
Under the current Nice Treaty (Article 18.2, 2002) the EU is expressly precluded from laying down the law regarding:
\"measures concerning passports, ID cards, residence permits and any other such documents\"
\"Measures concerning\" could refer not just to the issuing of documents but the databases on which the personal data, including biometrics are held, data-sharing, data-mining and data protection.
However, under the Lisbon
Constitution Treaty this will change.
Some time ago David Cameron surprised Jacqui Smith by asking her about a secretive EU programme called STORK. Ms Smith had never heard of it! This is linked to the IDABC programme which tells us that:
Several barriers to free movement of workers still exist in the EU: for example, it is not easy to access public services while working or living in another country. The European Commission has launched a pilot project to remedy this situation with an EU-wide system for the recognition and authentication of electronic identity (eID via electronic cards or other means). It will enable businesses and citizens to securely use their national electronic identities and get help from public administrations in any Member State they live in or travel to.
The pilot project launched by the Commission aims to achieve the pan-European recognition of electronic IDs. This will be done without imposing one single solution but allowing national systems to work together.
In February 2009 Enisa, the European Network and Information Security Agency, wrote a report entitled Privacy Features of European eID Card Specifications. This tells us that:
10 European Union states have already rolled out electronic ID cards and 13 states have committed to rolling out electronic ID cards and are in various stages of planning. (Note that they all have the same design). The increasing number of card schemes in place are creating opportunities for pan-European initiatives exploiting the new infrastructure. European policy initiatives such as the Services directive already assume an interoperable infrastructure across borders and initiatives such as STORK are exploring ambitious cross-border use-cases.
The main part of the 24 page report is dedicated to a survey of how these available privacy enhancing technologies are implemented in existing and planned European eID card specifications.
The objective of the action is to analyse the eID and authentication interoperability requirements. Fully in line with the 2010 eGovernment action Plan, and specifically supporting the adopted eID Roadmap, this analysis should point to the required interoperability functions in eID, propose a global eID interoperability approach and solution based on existing technologies, propose and study the impact of a multi-level authentication mechanism and derive common specifications for interoperable eID in the EU.
Could the Conservatives and the Lib Dems tell us how their totally admirable declaration to do away with the NIR and the ID card scheme in the UK can be reconciled to all this work to achieve pan-European eID and interoperability of services?
Watch the creepily inoffensive STORK video.
STORK ( Secure Identity Across Borders Linked)
IDABC ( Interoperable Delivery of European eGovernment Services to public Administrations, Business and Citizens).
PEGS ( pan-European eGovernment Services) .