UK Liberty

Project Stork

Posted in ID Cards, politicians on liberty by ukliberty on January 8, 2008

You may have seen the phrase “EU Project Stork” being mentioned in recent discussions of identity cards (eg).

Do not let it concern you, as James Hall, Chief Exec of the IPS explains in identikit letters to several newspapers (eg Telegraph, Herald), there is nothing to hide and nothing to fear:

Sir – Claims that there are plans to share information from the proposed National Identity Register with 26 other EU countries are unfounded (report, November 27).

Project Stork is a research project involving 14 [not 26! – ukliberty] countries looking at each other’s technical standards for delivery of online Government services, with a view to making it easier for citizens and businesses to access such “e-services” cross-border in future.

Project Stork is not about ID cards, it has nothing to do with the National Identity Scheme or providing personal data from the National Identity Register. Just as with the current passport database, the National Identity Register will only hold core identity information [oh dear!]. It will not hold tax, benefit or other financial records nor be an amalgam of existing Government data.

The scheme will be fully security accredited, and an independent Scheme Commissioner will oversee its operation in addition to the role played by the Information Commissioner.

James Hall, Chief Executive, Identity and Passport Service, London SW1

Strangely, however, the EU suggests otherwise (my emphasis in bold):

An ambitious pilot project to test the compatibility of several different electronic ID systems is to be undertaken in the UK. The pilot, worth over €20 million, is part of the EU’s eID STORK project which aims to establish EU-wide interoperability for eIDs by 2010.

The ultimate goal of the STORK project is to implement an EU-wide interoperable system for the recognition and authentication of eIDs that will enable businesses, citizens and government employees to use their national eIDs in any Member State. Once established, this would significantly facilitate migration between Member States, allowing easy access to a variety of eGovernment services including, for example, social security, medical prescriptions and pension payments. It could also ease cross-border student enrolment in colleges.

European ministers, as well as some non-European countries (e.g. Iceland), set themselves the political objective to reach mutual recognition and interoperability of electronic identities by the year 2010 in the Manchester Declaration adopted in November 2005. This declaration, however, also adopts the subsidiarity principle, leaving full autonomy to Member States as to what kind of electronic identity they issue. The STORK project is expected to help bridge the gap between the different eID systems currently in use, leading to a de facto standard for interoperability in eIDs. The deadline for this is 2010, when the EU’s European eID Management Framework comes into force.

The UK’s Identity and Passport Service (IPS) is leading the pilot project, in close co-operation with the Government Gateway, the UK’s centralised registration service. “It is about the eventual pan-European recognition of electronic IDs,” noted an IPS spokesperson. “Neither services nor entitlements will change; rather, the project is currently about looking at methods that already exist and figuring out how to make them recognise each other.”

How would such a system operate if there was no means for, say, France to check the National Register?

Mr Hall?


See also the Register.

Update 2

Also see this thread in the NO2ID forum (hat-tip David Moss).


5 Responses

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  1. Hush, go back to sleep « The ARCH Blog said, on January 8, 2008 at 2:25 pm

    […] Read more on UK Liberty […]

  2. David Moss said, on January 9, 2008 at 11:55 am

    If Mr Hall is to be believed, Project Stork has so little to do with IPS and so little to do with the NIS that it must be a coincidence that they are involved at all.

    These matters are considered a little further here,

  3. ukliberty said, on January 9, 2008 at 7:29 pm

    Perhaps we will be enrolled on two identity systems, one for Johnny Foreigner to check, and the other solely for our Government and other interested parties.

  4. dirtydozen said, on February 7, 2008 at 6:50 pm

    There would be no need for a register check. Isn’t the point of the comments above that the id card would have the necessary information for interoperability? So France would mind its own business and not have access to anything beyond the card that the person choses (underlined) to present. Seems to me that the EU is trying to widen the access for services to citizens of other countries, and not trying to create new mega registers here, so show us the actual evidence if you think the UK will open its data doors to other countries; otherwise you’re just speculating.

  5. ukliberty said, on February 15, 2008 at 11:30 am

    There would be no need for a register check.

    How then would ‘France’, say, know whether the card is genuine, and that it is being presented by its owner?

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