Kablenet must have a man on duty in France as they’re reporting a lot of what’s going on there these days. Latest story is on the plan to introduce an ID card. The card will use that long disillusioned technology “PKI” and will be available for central and local government use. When I lived in France, you had to carry an ID card already – a laminated plastic or even just a plain paper one – that you obtained from the local council offices and had to keep up to date every time you moved. The French also have something that we don’t, which is a single identifier number that hooks into almost everything – their equivalent of a social security number. That’s a big help in joining up. And, for years now they’ve been using smart cards almost every day for buying things in stores – the “chip and pin” cards that we’re just getting round to doing in the UK and that will be everywhere by the end of 2005 (such a common target date that). So, an “ID card” for the French probably isn’t a big deal, and the idea of sliding a card into a slot and identifying yourself (with a pin or even a thumbprint) probably isn’t a big deal either … but there will be those who will suspect the state of ulterior motives. Believe me, I’m sure that there are those in the Administration there who would love to be able to carry out anything that involved ulterior motives. I just doubt that they will, at least not anytime soon.