13 March 2006


Talking of the Open University, here's an interesting research report from them on the UK Government's plans to introduce ID cards. The study looks at things from a slightly novel angle: people's attitudes to the scheme, and how they vary according to the details.

The most interesting result was that even those moderately in favour of the idea became markedly less enthusiastic when the card was compulsory and a centralised rather than distributed database was used to store the information. Since this is precisely what the government is planning to do, the research rather blows a hole in their story that the British population is simply begging them to introduce ID cards. John Lettice has provided more of his usual clear-headed analysis on the subject.

What is also fascinating is how the British public - or at least the sample interviewed - demonstrated an innate sense of how unwise such a centralised database would be. I think this argues a considerable understanding of what is on the face of it quite an abstract technical issue. There's hope yet - for the UK people, if not for the UK Government....

No comments: