Red Face for Big Brother – Passport IT Troubles


We Know Where You Live – or we thought we did.

The Identity and Passport Service provides a key element in the Blair regime’s plan to build a Great Index that will provide any public servant with instant access to detailed personal information on every citizen and provide the engine that will make the Internal Passport work.

The essential pre-cursor was to create biometric passports and enable passports to be renewed electronically via the Internet. This was expected to provide the ability for the system to expand to produce Internal Passports, or Identity Cards, for every citizen from birth to death. The system was then expected to be combined with a series of other databases to provide instant access to personal health, finance, tax, and criminal records for any citizen and the ability to sell any of this information to any commercial organization.

The EPA2 electronic passport applications system was due to be introduced in late 2004. It was introduced in May 2006 and was rapidly brought down when its performance had seriously degraded and threatened to create total chaos in the issuing of passports. In the meantime the Identity and Passport Service will try to limp along using the old EPA1 system.

A spokesman is now forecasting that the EPA2 system will not become operational now until mid 2007 and the date may well be further delayed. In view of the very indefinite date for operation, the full extent of budget overrun is currently unknown but expected to be significant.

With the NHS central records systems in melt down, failure of the EPA2 may not be the greatest problem for the Blair regime. The grand plan to be able to control in detail the life of every citizen depends on every database functioning efficiently. The NHS IT project alone is the largest IT project ever attempted in the world and looks set to be the defining disaster story of IT misdevelopment and failure.

Civil liberty groups that had been warning of the destruction of personal freedom in Britain may have been greatly over estimating the the ability of the Blair regime to deliver anything. What is unfolding is incompetence on a monumental scale and a waste of public funds that no government in the world has been able to match.

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