Below is an extract from the Defy-ID ‘greasy palms’ list (available in full on www.defy-id.org.uk/greasypalms.htm), of companies either involved or actively seeking involvement in the UK identity scheme. This list is a work in progress and any information about companies, listed or not listed, will be gratefully received. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
In late 2004, the Whitehall & Industry Group coordinated the recruitment of a ‘Head of Marketing’ for the UK National Identity Cards Scheme (see Corporate Watch August 24th 2004) through the Whitehall & Industry Group (WIG) website. WIG is funded, by among others, Atos Origin, which has already supplied the Home Office with biometric technology for the ID card trials.
WIG also receives funding from Deloitte, Accenture, Capita, EDS, Fujitsu and Siemens. The team developing the scheme includes 39 civil servants, and 40 consultants from PA Consulting, the Government’s private sector ‘development partner’, and three on secondment from the Passport Service, the Metropolitan Police and a management consultant company.
Around £9 million has been spent on the early stages of the project. The full ID scheme is expected to cost £5 billion or more to develop. PA Consulting Group was awarded a development contract said to be worth £10 million over 18 months in May 2004; this is the same company used by the Government in setting up the Criminal Records Bureau, whose chaotic beginnings led to serious criticism.
In 2004, there were two important corporate events for companies interested in the ID scheme. Many of the companies listed beow gave presentations at one of these conferences. The first event was ‘ID Cards: The Next Steps’, May 2004. Organised by Intellect, the UK’s IT/electronics/telecoms trade body, sponsored by the Home Office, BT, EDS, Siemens Business Services and Sun Microsystems. The speakers at the conference included Raymond Wong from the Hong Kong immigration department and Brad Wing, Biometrics Coordinator, U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The second event was ‘Digital Identity’, November 2004. This was organised by IT firm Consult Hyperion, who brought together the public and private sectors to discuss ‘Moving Digital ID to Population Scale’. This conference was principally sponsored by military electronics contractor Thales and EDS.
DEFY-ID ‘GREASY PALMS’ LIST
Global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company; 9700 UK employees. Ian Watmore, Accenture’s former UK Managing Director, left May 2004 to become Cabinet Office Head of E-Government, with responsiblity for implementing the ID card scheme.
ARM develops processors and other components for biometric smart cards.
A Cambridge based company, established in 1998 to develop devices that imaged and analysed the skin using a technology called SIAscopy.
An international IT services company. Atos Origin are one of the companies arguing that the government should introduce an ‘ID Card-lite’ and shift towards a full biometric card and detailed population database when the card is already in use.
Axalto (formerly known as Schlumberger Smart Cards & Terminals)
A leading provider of smart cards and point-of-sale terminals for over 20 years.
BT may not bid for ID card contracts because of concern that its involvement would make it seem like a ‘Big Brother’ company in the eyes of the public. According to some media reports, BT has been talking to consultants and public bodies, including Liberty, in order to gauge how close involvement with the ID scheme would be perceived. The area where BT’s skills would be likely to be most appropriate would be in providing the infrastructure that would be used in order to link the network of readers with the national identity register, and hence with multiple other government databases, which would put the company squarely at the Big Brother end of the deal.
Independent IT management consultancy.
In April 2004, Detica commissioned MORI to conduct a survey into the British public’s attitude to the proposed ID card scheme. Detica’s survey found ‘the British public gives a resounding ‘yes’ to the proposed ID card scheme — 80% of the adult population are in favour.’ Detica’s clients include HM Customs & Excise and the MoD plus major telecoms and defence companies such as Nortel and Lockheed Martin. Amongst other things, Detica develops systems for the ‘Lawful Intercept’ of data communications, — bugging to you or me.
Electronic Data Systems (EDS)
EDS is the largest issuer of smart cards in the US. In November 2004 EDS sponsored some research in the US which showed that in the US 69% of people ‘are open to the idea of using biometric identification methods’. Paul Martin, Executive Director for EDS, said: ‘The findings reinforce our belief that, implemented correctly, ID cards actually enhance citizens’ privacy.”
An international credit reference agency.
The UK’s leading independent ‘card and card solutions’ company, ID Data wants to be seriously considered as a supplier of choice for the UK’s National ID Card. Future talks are expected with the Home Office and their development partner, PA Consulting.
Provided the fingerprint capture and facial matching technology in the UK Passport Office biometric trial, April-Decemeber 2004.
NEC supplied its Automated Fingerprint Identification System to the Passport Office’s six-month biometric trial which ran from April-December 2004.
PA Consulting Group
Announced as the Home Office’s ‘Development Partner’ for the Identity Card Scheme on 24th May 2004. The contract is rumoured to be worth £10million over 18 months. It is reported that there are forty PA Consulting Group employees working as part of the Identity Card Programme Team.
Senselect owns UK and USA biometric patents in the field of fingerprint technology. A core technology patent, GB2342749, was published by the UK Patent Office in November 2000 and a complementary USA patent was awarded to the company in November 2003. Senselect has been selected as a partner under the EDS UK Incubator Programme.
Siemens Business Services
In the UK, Siemens Business Services received a contract from the Home Office in 2002 to build a back-office system for electronic passport applications. At the 2004 Labour Party conference, Siemens Business Services sponsored a panel discussion with the title ‘Who do we think we are? identity, diversity and citizenship’, featuring then Home Secretary, David Blunkett. In April 2004, Siemens Business Services signed a contract with Sovereign Strategy Ltd., a policy and lobbying consultancy which has strong links with the Labour Party.
A multinational provider of computer hardware, software and services, Sun Microsystems is the creator and leading advocate for Java technology which is used in smart cards.
Thales is a global electronics company serving aerospace, defence, and information technology markets worldwide. Since 2002, Thales Identification has been in charge of production of ID smartcards for the People’s Republic of China.
From their website: ‘TraceTag provides various holographic materials with additional levels of security incorporated or overprinted.’