ID Card Business Plans

Despite the efforts of people like No2ID it seems likely that the UK will have ID cards introduced, first voluntary for anyone who wishes to drive or travel, then compulsary. This brings some opportunities for business who could use the data in the National Identity Register to either improve the efficiency of exisiting processes, or entirely new businessess.

I donate these business ideas to the public domain, I don't have time to commercialise them but I'm happy for others to try to.

MMS STD Checking

You're in a club / pub / bar, and you're chatting up an attractive man / woman. Before you pull and go off for a night of sexual experimentation you might want to find out if you're about to catch anything. Take a photo with a good enough camera phone and MMS it to this service. If the shot of the Iris is reasonable we'll send a list of likely matches back to your phone, and from their medical records what sexually transmitted diseases they have.

The photo doesn't have to be anywhere near as good as a full iris scan - we're only interested in the most likely candidate. Since it will return the names of the best matches the user can do additional filtering or take a better photo if required.

The costs here are maintaining access to the NIR, running a text message billed service so the operators will take ~ 50% of the turnover. Other than that it's a quick database query. It's rather difficult to estimate the size of this market.


Quite simple. The ID card will be an authorised travel document, so whenever any person leaves the country using their ID card as authentication, a record will be written into the NIR to say so. You can check to see that every occupant of the house has left the country giving you a nice list of easily robbed houses.

It's hard to quantify how much a burglar would pay to access this database, it would considerably lower the risk of being caught but burglars are notoriously stupid for not understanding risks - many of them still don't wear gloves. Burglars also tend not to be well off so they're unlikely to pay well.

Suppose you had access to a database of all the women in an area which included photos of them and had access to their medical records and their police records. If you sorted this database into healthy women who had reported health checks for sexually transmitted diseases who hadn't reported a rape, you've a good chance of identifying the women who've been raped but didn't report it. Assuming that women who didn't report the first rape are unlikely to report subsequent rapes you've just profiled ideal targets for serial rapists, and thanks to the biometrics they can't change their identity to escape you. Handily you've got their photos so potential stalkers can make sure they get some attractive to them.

Using these figures we can estimate that currently there are around 50000 rapes per year, giving you 40000 unreported rapes, and about 50000 rapists - a number held down because of the risk of being caught. Assuming you could double the number of rapes by taking away the risk of being caught, and were charging £50 for the ability to view your database you've got a potential income of £ 2 500 000 / year, all you need to do is maintain illegal access to the NIR and a way of clearing the funds. The maximum penalty merely for reading the data is six months according to the House of Commons Standing Comittee.