An Online ID card will be launched in the UK next month. The scheme is initially targetted for transaction with government agencies such as the tax office and the DVLA.
The Government was a bit too quick to deny it was bringing in ID cards by the back door after it revealed plans to offer everyone a virtual ID. Government aides claimed in a rather circular argument that rather than bringing in ID cards by a different
method the scheme would make any attempt to reintroduce a compulsory document less likely:
This removes once and for all the need for an identity card because it will be possible to prove your identity securely without one.
More than half a million people are expected to sign up to use the Verify project within a year. Under the programme, users will choose one of five private providers -- including Experian and the Post Office -- to complete an online security
This will give them a username and password, as well as a code sent to their mobile phone, which will give them access to government services.
Driving licences and some self-assessment tax returns will be among the first services to be offered as part of the scheme next month, with tax credits and benefits records expected to follow in March.
Emma Carr, director of Big Brother Watch, which has been involved in the scheme's development, said:
It has to ensure that this is a scheme that the public can have full confidence in. They must make themselves very clear about how it will work, including details of what safeguards are in place to ensure that the private companies being used to
verify a users identity won't wrongly gain access to any information.'