[Dave Birch] Now, I don’t want to blow my own trumpet (well, not strictly true I suppose) but it’s only taken me five minutes to come up with a better idea of an incentive for identity card use in the U.K. than any I’ve heard so far from the government’s management consultants. Does anyone remember the story of Geldkarte in Germany? It was a barely-used electronic purse added to German bank cards some years ago. It was moribund until the big bankers came up with an excellent (and I use the word deliberately) wheeze. They persuaded the German government to pass a law requiring the use of bank cards (that could verify age) to buy cigarettes. Naturally, Geldkarte complied with the relevant standards, and away they went
. Now I notice that Japan is going down a similar route:
The Tobacco Institute of Japan has started accepting applications for taspo age-verification cards to be used at cigarette-vending machines starting in March… To obtain the card, an application form with a mugshot and a copy of a document that shows the applicant’s age, such as a driver’s license, must be mailed to the institute… From July, all 520,000 cigarette-vending machines in the nation will require the card, which also can be used as an electronic money card to buy cigarettes from vending machines.
[From Smart card for cigarette machines introduced : Business : DAILY YOMIURI ONLINE (The Daily Yomiuri)]
Now there’s an idea. You could bring in a quarter of the population at a stroke (bad choice of language, I know) and build from there.