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UK Plans Big Spend on ID Management

Public-sector spending will increase 50 percent in the next year alone, new study says

The British government has been talking some serious talk recently about stopping identity theft in the United Kingdom. And according to a new report, it's about to put its money where its crumpet hole is.

According to a new report by public-sector research firm Kable Ltd., U.K. government spending on identity management is about to skyrocket, reaching a figure of more than $10 billion by 2011.

"Spending on [identity management] is ready to leap by almost 50 percent next year, propelled by major programmes such as the National Identity Card Scheme, e-Borders, the Police National Database and the National Offenders Management Systems," Kable says.

The U.K. government is looking into a wide variety of identity management programs, including a federated identity scheme and multiple identifiers, where the requirements for identification would vary according to the purpose of providing the information. The British government is also looking into a "phone number for life" concept, according to the research firm.

"The report acknowledges that some of the centralized identity management plans, such as ID federation and the national ID card, could provide "attractions for fraudsters." Some consumers may also raise concerns over the privacy risks associated with centralized schemes, the report states.

Kable senior analyst Philippe Martin said the government could not ignore these issues and that they could have an effect on the market.

"The huge potential for growth of identity management solutions will rely on the government's ability to provide its citizens with a sense of empowerment and standardize the use of identity practices," said Martin. "It will take many years to get there, as many large, complex legacy systems will have to change.

"Failure to do so may generate a degree of opposition that could stand in the way of efforts to harness the potential of [identity management]."

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