UK Government slows ID card rollout plans

UK Government slows ID card rollout plans

People renewing a passport after 2010 will no longer be obliged to receive an ID card

The UK government has today altered the timetable for the introduction of identity cards - but said the plan will still mean a national rollout by 2020.

Under previous proposals, anyone renewing a passport after 2010 would automatically receive an ID card – but now they can choose to have their biometric details recorded on the passport instead.

However, this information will still be recorded on the national identity register – the database that will contain citizens' biometrics details.

And there will be special rules for people working in certain areas, said home secretary Jacqui Smith.

"We are introducing ID cards for people working in sensitive locations like airports from 2010," she said.

Smith is due to reveal plans for the rollout of ID cards to foreign nationals later today – the first to be targeted will be countries that cause the biggest illegal immigration problems for the government.

Citizens' biometric and biographical details will be recorded in two separate databases with a secure link between the two.

Less than a hundred people will have access to the databases, and they will not be vulnerable to hacking attacks because they will not be online, said Smith .

But shadow home secretary David Davis said databases could never be secure.

"The government is naïve about databases and the level of threat to them," he said. "The only way to secure the national identity register is to cancel it. "

In January BAE and Accenture dropped out of the running to be suppliers for the ID card scheme amid speculation over delays, while Steria pulled out last month.

CSC, EDS, Fujitsu, IBM, and Thales are the remaining bidders.