Home Office Minister Andy Burnham has been on BBC News 24 breakfast tv, saying that the Home Office will be publishing new figures on "identity fraud" later today, which we will look at with interest.
"The trend is upwards" apparently.
His soundbites were preceded by a pre-filmed segment showing a case where a woman and her partner had both had money withdrawn from their internet bank accounts illegally, with the suspicion falling on their recycled rubbish as being the possible source of sensitive personal data to the thieves.
When asked by the tv interviewer how the Identity Card scheme would prevent such a case, Burnham did not answer the question and wittered on about biometrics and being able to prevent multiple ID registrations.
Which, of course, would have made no differemce whatsoever in the internet banking fraud case, since you will not be able to send and verify your biometrics online via a bank's online website, without putting that sensitive data and your biometric details at severe risk of being stolen en route.
If you have to physically go to a secure biometric reader in the bank, then the whole point of internet or phone banking is lost.
If the "phone banking" style challenge / response Questions and Answers are used, as the Home Office seems to be thinking, then, apart from adding an extra layer of complexity to the existing systems, the ID Card cannot provide any more "security" than the existing systems.
It will be interesting to see exactly what figures the Home Office publishes, and whether they have actually commissioned quantitative research, or whether it will all belike the discredited Cabinet Office "£1.3 billion a year" guesstimates which NuLabour politicians have repeated over and over and over again since July 2002:
The BBC reports that Andy Burnham has been spinning a £35 per person per year for "identity fraud" and come up with a magic figure of £1.7 billion.
Presumably this puts the adult population of the UK at 48.5 million people, which sorts of fits in with the 11 to 12 million children , and the approximately 60 million people in the UK according to the last census.
Given the independent official criticism of of both the Home Office's alleged Crime Statistics and of their inability to even reconcile their own bank accounts, and their inability to even guess the cost of the proposed ID Cards database scheme, such back of an envelope calculations probably seems to be an advanced financial calculation tby the standards of the Home Office.
We still await the detailed figures and assumptions etc.
"At £35 per person, the estimated annual cost was greater than that of planned compulsory national identity cards, he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme."
So what ? The weasel word association of such a statement inplies that somehow all of the cost of ID Cards will be offset by savings on "Identity Fraud", when in reality, the best that can be expected is a few tens of millions of pounds savings a year, with amassive loss of privacy , longer queues, and a fundamental change in the power relationship between the individual, and petty officials of the bureaucratic surveillance state.