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  • ensure that the Scheme delivers best return on investment. Not only are the benefits we have listed above economically tangible, but it is also important to realise that much of the cost of what we are doing would be incurred regardless of the Scheme. Specifically, biometric passports will soon be required in almost all of the largest passport-issuing countries. Around 70 per cent of the cost of the combined passport and ID card will be required to keep our passports up to international standards;

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More misleading numbers? Seventy percent of the combined passport and ID card - out of the total of 93 pounds (or has this now gone up?), 66 (the cost of a passport) is how many percent? Seventy-ish, perhaps? I don't understand what they are trying to tell us here.

(The cost of the scheme is allegedly to be recovered via fees in the same way that passports are done, so working from the unit cost is not an unreasonable approximation.)

My passport is already sufficiently biometric to meet the standards required by the ICAO, even the most basic of which is not expected to be fully deployed until at least 2020.

We must also be wary of the wilfully variable usage of the term 'biometric' here. For passports this currently only means 'processed digital photo', whereas for ID cards the term also includes fingerprints and any other 'biometric' they care to specify.

Posted by Henrietta W on 2006-12-31 01:56:04.
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Henrietta, if I recall correctly the Government has given us the following information:

1. the cost of the scheme is estimated to be £5.4bn over ten years; 2. 80% of the population have passports; 3. the point-of-sale unit cost per passport/id card is to be £93; and, 4. the population of the UK is around 60m.

If 80% of the population purchase the combined passport/ID card, the Government must therefore recoup around £1bn from other sources - including purchasers of the ID card only, users of the identity verification service, and people updating their details on the National Register (or being fined for not doing so).

If it is to charge £35 per ID card, and the rest of the population signs up, it must recover half a billion from those other sources.

A point to add about yours regarding biometrics:

If I understand correctly the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) minimum standard for a biometric passport requires that the passport photo is stored on a chip in the passport (this is also the minimum required by the USA) with the finger and iris being used at the discretion of the issuing State.

Government remarks about biometrics being required by international standards seems a little misleading for that reason.

Furthermore are we to infer from the Government that the UK has little to no influence on international standards? The addition of the fingerprint biometric was proposed by the ‘UK’ during the UK’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union!

I must also add that we have two seats at the ICAO.

My other problem is the leap from passports to a National Register and Identity Card Scheme - the argument seems to be, well we might as well do it as it's only going to cost another £1.6bn.

Posted by TD on 2007-01-04 17:02:50.
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