After 10 years of use as a de facto ID card, the New Zealand government has just published draft guidelines requiring that they are no longer accepted by government agencies as a 'strong' form of identification.
What lesson does this offer for the future of ID cards?
Putting aside the matter of principle, lets just look at the practical experience of having a government issued card that most of the population uses as a form of identification. My big fear with the introduction of photo-licenses was that the simple fact they were widely carried would mean that all and sundry would start asking for a level of evidence of identity that was out of all proportion to the risk evolved in the transaction: for example, registering with the local video store.
Wide scale, dispersed ID records increase the chances of fraud, simply because they are held in multiple locations. And the more widely a form of ID becomes accepted, the more attractive it is to fraudsters.
The New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs have just released their Draft Evidence of Identity Framework for consultation. It is a well thought out, pragmatic document that encourages moderation and a sense of perspective with regard to proof of identity. It places great emphasis not on some panacea for ID theft (such as an ID card) but the process by which identity is continually assessed.
Labels: Civil Society, DIA, ID Card, Identity Fraud, Organised Crime