It is rumoured that an Identity Cards Bill will be published tomorrow Wednesday 25th May 2005 at 12:30, despite this not having been announced during last Thursday's Order of Business.
Presumably the other rumours that it might be delayed are part of the NuLabour spin, and this is an attempt to sow some discord within the Opposition Conservative party, who have still not yet come off the fence, and said that they would definately oppose the Bill, even though their front running leadership candidate seems to be opposed.
Does it also mean that the NuLabour Government is going to try to rush it through Parliament again, without proper debate or even the amendment of the stupid errors which the previous version contained ?
We welcome its early publication (if the rumour is true), and remind everyone that Charles Clarke also promised yesterday that the costs of the scheme would be published with the Bill, so that they could be analysed - hopefully these are detailed cost estimates referring to a Detailed Statement of Technical Requirements.
It is also rumoured that the results of the inadequately small scale Passport Office "biometric trial" will be published tomorrow as well.
Remember that this trial did not test either the relative merits of various biometric technologies or of various actual commercial off the shelf products or even touch on any of the massive infrastrucure issues of scale and resilience.. It certainly did not even try to test the security of the system against even amateur, let alone professional attack.
Still, there might be something of interest in the results of this trial.
It would be insane if the Government tried to justify a multi billion pound ID card / Database project of such cricial significance to the raltionship between the Individual and the State, on the basis of such a limited trial.
Once this trial has been completed, it was promised that the Chief Scientific Advisor Sir David King KB ScD FRS would review the state of biometric and other technology that the scheme plans to use. We look forward to an announcement about this as well.