ID cards

In July 2002 the government released a consultation document in an attempt to gauge the public mood on compulsory identity cards. I am personally quite worried about the civil liberty implications, but after some thought decided that there might be a way of using asymmetric encryption techniques to avoid some of the biggest problems. The result of these musings can be found in the PDF document below. There is also a ZIP archive containing an example implementation of the system which I talk about, and this will run under both RISC OS and Windows (2000/XP).

In spite of what I discuss in the document, I still feel that any form of ID card would be an unnecessary interference into people's lives, largely because it will inevitably be tied to a national identification database.

The consultation process ended some time ago now. The results of the consultation process could be seen on the home office's Identity Card page (archived version), which is now defunct. Some of this information may still be accessible from the Official Documents Archive. Unfortunately the government is now committed to introducing ID cards and a national ID database.

The document 'Liberty, Security, Identity' and an example implementation of the ID card framework described in it can be downloaded below.


  • IDCard IDCard
    Version 1.01 (20 Aug 2004) for RISC OS and Windows.
    This is an example ID card implementation using AES (Rijndael) encryption, SHA hashing and discrete logarithmic asymmetric signing. Its important features are that cards cannot be forged, and personal data can only be verified using the card, it cannot be directly read from it. See the thoughts page for more details. Executables are included for RISC OS and Windows, and the code should compile for others, but requires the excellent MIRACL library. More info...
    Download: source, screenshot.


  • David Llewellyn-Jones, "Liberty, Security, Identity", 7 October 2002. A response to the Government’s Consultation Document. More info....
    Download: pdf.