Sunday, June 12

The War on Error

As British MP's wake up to the likelihood that ID cards will be a multibillion pound failure, to say nothing of the ineffectiveness of the scheme to prevent terrorism warnings from the US don't give any encouragement to the flawed 'big brother' plans.

When the White House office of management and budget investigated 33 homeland security initiatives involving many firms that are potential ID card contractors, it found that only four of the projects had been effective.

Of the most ineffective ones, a scheme called US -Visit is particularly relevant to the ID card debate in the UK. The ten year, $10 bn contract for a computer network to screen foreign visitors, recording their details and checking them against terrorist suspect databases, was won by Accentuate. The company promised a futuristic system with biometric face and fingerprint recognition.. However the US general accounting office found the actual costs would be very well above the $ 7.2 bn estimate, the actual cost would be ''tens of billions''.

Even less encouraging was the conclusion of the investigators that 'US - Visit' will be clearly uncertain that the company will be ''measurably and appreciably'' be unable to achieve the stated goals required by the US Department for Homeland Security.

Now then guess what, Accenture is a likely bidder for ID card work in Britain; Ian Watmore, head of ''E Government in Westminster is a former Accenture chief executive and an ID card enthusiast.

When Mr Watmore was appointed he made it clear that he would lead the project. Indeed.

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