National Identity Numbers

It was interesting to hear on the news this morning about the Indian National Identity Number program. I was half asleep but I think they said that they were processing a million applications per day in order to allocate everyone in the country a unique ID number. They won’t issue ID cards but will maintain a database holding identity and biometric data.

I am reminded of the UK’s Citizen Information Project (CIP) which got subsumed into the National Identity Card fiasco. I personally do not have any objection to having my details stored on a database. Yes I would be concerned about security but I already have a passport, a driving license, I pay taxes and I am registered to vote. Therefore I am already present on 4 of the largest databases in the UK. Not to mention my bank, credit cards, utilities and heaven knows what else.

What concerns me more about this sort of program is the cost versus the benefit. A National ID program would be a government initiative therfore it would cost massively more money than estimated and would run years over budget. And for what? I was never clear what the benefits to me as a citizen of the UK would be. I fail to see how it would prevent terrorism which was one of the stated benefits. Maybe it would make things easier when moving house – only having to inform one organisation of the change of address. Hardly earth shattering if you only move house once every 10 years. And I don’t want to be compelled to carry my ID card wherever I go just incase I get stopped by the rozzers and asked to produce my papers…remember “The Great Escape”.

As an exponent of Single Customer View, CRM, CDI, MDM etc. I should not be averse to creating a “Single Citizen View”. Its just that I can’t see the point.  What do you think?

Good luck to India.

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1 Response to National Identity Numbers

  1. Pingback: Costs of a Single Citizen View « Liliendahl on Data Quality

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