Demise of the Access Card
Reports from across the Tasman say that Australia’s new government has pulled the plug on the Access Card. The ID card that wasn’t supposed to be an ID card has been controversial and Labour seems to have decided that former Prime Minister John Howard’s baby should be aborted.
The official website has already been changed so clearly the government wants to move on.
The Access Card saga is a classic tale of how not to implement a major government initiative. Lack of consistent and clear messages compounded by a lack of transparency and trust has always made it difficult to separate fact from political noise.
As David Vaile of the Australian Privacy Foundation once put it, “The problem with the Access Card project is that it involves collecting the data first, connecting systems, and then deciding what to use it for.”
Privacy and civil liberties advocates are apprehensive that the reports of the death of the Access Card have been greatly exaggerated. They are keeping a watch out for any proposal to re-introduce the card in a new form, as was the case with the Australia Card.
I don’t think they need to worry. As the UK has shown, ID cards for countries that traditionally haven’t had them are now so passé.