Government creates ID card agency

Government creates ID card agency

Summary: The drive to issue biometric identification cards to UK citizens is already underway, following the compromise hammered out last week

TOPICS: Government UK

The government wasted no time in starting work on the ID card scheme after the bill became law last week; a new agency that will be tasked with introducing ID cards has been set up.

The ID cards bill is now on the statute book after receiving royal assent on Thursday. The new Identity and Passport Service (IPS), which is in charge of managing the ID cards scheme, became operational on Saturday.

The bill finally got approval following a deal between MPs and peers earlier this week, and it allows people to opt out of receiving an ID card when renewing their passport until 2010.

But the compromise means that those who choose to opt out will still have to pay for the ID card — and have their fingerprints, iris scans and personal details taken and stored on the national identity register (NIR) when they get a new passport.

Charles Clarke, the home secretary, has already announced that the Labour government will make the scheme compulsory if it wins the next general election and a new agency to issue passports and ID cards has already been set up.

The position of chief executive of the new IPS agency, which will incorporate the existing UK Passport Service, has yet to be advertised but the Home Office said it expects the role to be filled later in the year.

The IPS will be responsible for issuing ID cards and providing the means of verifying the identity of individuals for accredited organisations, setting up the NIR and promoting the use of ID cards in the public and private sectors.

Clarke said in a statement: "Building on the experience and proven excellence of the Passport Service, the IPS will ensure the UK is at the forefront of the worldwide drive to increase document security, safeguard borders and protect identities for use by those who are entitled to them."

But critics of the ID card scheme have vowed to fight on. Phil Booth, national co-ordinator for the No2ID campaign group, said the problem has always been the national identity database rather than the card.

He said: "Millions are already vehemently opposed. The Home Office will have to round them up and force them to be fingerprinted which will bring home to the public the true nature of the scheme. This is a self-destructive policy to dwarf the Poll Tax."

Topic: Government UK

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  • I'm still at a loss what this scheme is supposed to do for us. It won't stop, or even slow down terrorism; it will be a positive boon for ID theft and unless the police are going to spend all their time doing street stop searches on "Dodgy Looking" (read ethnic minority) people, it won't do anything for illegal immigration either. This isn't me saying this, it is the likes of Stella Rimington and others who know a great deal about more the practicalities of this stuff than I do. All I do know is that there has never yet been an uncrackable security technology, so the likelihood of the ID cards remaining unforgeable is vanishingly small .. and when that happens, the carrier of the forged ID can BE me. What defence do I have when the "Perfect" ID is being used in my name.
  • The problem with this future fiasco is that it is not the morons who conceived the idea and promoted it against all intelligent data to the contrary, it is not the politicians who voted for it despite all the contrary advice, it is me, and you and all our familiies and friends who will have to pay for this.
    If there is a working system, the government will turn it into a nightmare fiasco which becomes an expensive failure.
    In this case there is no already working system; there is no tangible benefit, which to all intelligent life forms rings alarm bells.

    no doubt at the end of the day someone will get up in parliament and say, "yes it was an expensive fiasco ... down to the fault of the contractor, but.... now is the time to draw a line under this and move on" - to the next one. Meanwhile pensioners and the lowest paid will struggle as they will need to fork out to get their benefits. The rest of us can renew the passports just before D Day and get another 10 years of peace.