POS Cost For British ID Wildly Undestimated?

Written by Evan Schuman
November 25th, 2006

The U.S. government is not alone is trying to push a national ID card program to try and improve security and reduce security fraud. But efforts to do so in the U.K. were set back on Thanksgiving when a prominent British Parliament member published government answers on the true cost.

MP Stewart Hosie on Thanksgiving said that the British government’s “claim that ID cards could save up to ?1.7 billion of identity fraud in the UK economy was totally false” because “there are no costs calculated for the private sector use of ID cards” and that fact “has totally destroyed the credibility of the Government?s claims on ID cards,” Hosie said, according to a story in “?Indeed the admission that there are no costs to deploy the system in either the private or public sector without the Home Office makes any claims of savings meaningless. The Government has claimed that the private sector might save anywhere from ?321 million to ?518 million a year from the introduction ID cards but it is certain that the costs will outweigh this ?saving?.”

Much of the cost would come from adapting or replacing retail POS systems throughout the U.K. “?We now know that there are one million point of Sale locations in the UK and that the cost of equipping each would run to many hundreds of pounds for the initial purchase of card scanners biometric readers, software and communication lines and that there would be huge recurring annual revenue costs for maintenance support and training etc., ” he said, adding that the equipment cost alone would likely be “at least $3 billion.” The Parliament member said another flaw in the government’s financial assumptions was that the system would wipe out all fraud. ?It is also utterly ludicrous that the Government should claim a potential total saving of ?1.7 billion a year. This is the total cost of identity fraud to the UK economy and it is quite inconceivable that this ID card scheme will stop or deter every single piece of ID fraud in the UK and remove the need for Government departments and the police to continue to combat it,” he said.


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