According to a fun story by Andrew Donoghue at ZDNet (UK) a British governement agency has developed an alternative to the U.K.'s identity card scheme: give everyone an iPod installed with a digital certificate installed.
Patrick Cooper, the head of applications and data services in the U.K. Department of Trade and Industry, is worried about the security threat posed by the ubiquity of ADSL in the UK. He inferred that a cell phone or an iPod equipped with a digital signature or digital certificate plugged into a computer could effectively solve authentication and identity management problems.
"If you had a mobile phone with a digital certificate, you could dock it into your PC. An iPod with a digital certificate would also work," Cooper said. "My boss would give everyone in the U.K. an iPod. That would also mean there would be no reason for anyone to steal one, because everyone would have one."
Cooper also noted that the iPod scheme would also be more cost-efficient than other government plans to combat online fraud, such as equipping the proposed National ID Card with a PIN or password system to enable it to work as an online authentication device.