Gov't loses fight to keep ID card reviews secret

Summary:Two independent reviews into the likely success of the identity-cards project are to be published after the government lost a four-year-long battle to keep them secret

Reviews of the ID cards project are to be published after the government lost a four-year-long battle to keep them secret.

The two independent Gateway Reviews into the likely success of the £4.7bn ID cards project, completed in 2003 and 2004, must be published within 28 days.

The publication of the reports was ordered by the Information Tribunal today and is a blow for the government, which had argued it was important they remain confidential to protect future Gateway reviews.

The tribunal's decision comes after anti-ID card campaign group No2ID member, Mark Dziecielewski, won the right to have the reviews published after his Freedom of Information request to see the reports was upheld by the information commissioner in 2006.

The commissioner's decision was supported by the Information Tribunal in 2007 following an appeal by the Office of Government Commerce (OGC). The OGC subsequently appealed the tribunal's verdict in the High Court, which last year overturned the tribunal's decision to publish the reviews.

In its ruling today, the tribunal said there is a public interest argument for the reviews to be published, including analysing the costs.

"There is an undoubted debate as to the merits of the scheme," it added.

Gateway Reviews were introduced in 2000 by the OGC to track the progress of government IT projects.

The tribunal says the names of contributors to the ID cards reviews should not be published and that it does not believe all Gateway Reviews should be published.

An OGC spokesman said: "The Information Tribunal has concluded that neither they nor the information commissioner believe all Gateway Reviews should be disclosed. It has made clear that its decision refers only to this specific request and does not set any precedent. We are currently assessing the detail of the Information Tribunal's decision and will respond in full in due course."

Topics: Security

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Nick Heath is chief reporter for TechRepublic UK. He writes about the technology that IT-decision makers need to know about, and the latest happenings in the European tech scene.

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