This week the home secretary, David Blunkett, committed the government to the phased introduction of a national, biometric identity card that could be compulsory in ten years.
But given the fierce debate around the ID card issue so far, and the government's track record on large scale IT systems, turning a commitment into reality could prove extremely challenging in the long term.
News: The ID card debate so far
Government ignores Web opposition over ID cards
The Home Office consulted about the introduction of identity cards, and thousands of Internet users opposed the idea. What happened next?
Government wants your view on smart cards
A new government proposal examines how smart card technology could improve the delivery of public services. But would they differ from controversial ID cards?
Government plays for time over ID cards
Update: The Home Office has disclosed that 4,856 people sent emails via Stand's Web site that opposed the introduction of entitlement cards, but the final result of the consultation hasn't yet been revealed
Privacy International cries foul over ID cards
Opponents of entitlement cards are bringing the Parliamentary ombudsman into play, alleging maladministration by the government
ID cards: Do benefits outweigh risks?
The government will struggle to bring in entitlement cards if the independent body overseeing data protection in the UK opposes them
Biometric tech gets small town trial
An unnamed small town will host a trial of the biometric technology that will be embedded in UK passports from 2006
Survey gives thumbs-up to ID cards
UK citizens support ID cards, according to a report commissioned by the world's biggest smart card maker. Privacy activists are not convinced
Comment: When technology meets government
Are ID cards a game of blind man's bluff?
ID cards are nothing to worry about, says the government. So why does nothing about them stack up?
Pick a card, just not any card
Universal ID cards are still on the agenda, but they haven't been thought through