ID cards unveiled in Queen's Speech

ID cards unveiled in Queen's Speech

Summary: The government is to press ahead with its plans for biometric ID cards and a UK equivalent to the FBI

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TOPICS: Security
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Legislation for national ID cards and the UK's version of the FBI were the key planks of the Queen's Speech today, which promised "security for all".

Both were widely expected to be included and the government will now press on to push both through Parliament before the next general election. The Queen's Speech is read by the Queen but written by the government and it sets out the legislative agenda for the next session of Parliament.

Speaking in the House of Lords, the Queen said: "My government recognises that we live in a time of global uncertainty with an increased threat from international terrorism and organised crime. Measures to extend opportunity will be accompanied by legislation to increase security for all."

The ID card scheme proposed by the Home Office will see the introduction of a standalone ID card containing biometric information such as iris scans, fingerprints and a facial scan by 2008. The £15 card will be mandatory and will be issued alongside all new and renewal passport applications, the cost of which will also rise to £85.

More significantly, a vast database of UK citizens' data called the National Identity Register will be created to underpin the ID card scheme.

But concern has been raised by technology industry experts about the pace and scale of such a high-profile and costly project as the £3bn ID card scheme, which would become the biggest IT project ever undertaken by the government.

Mark Blowers, senior research director at analyst firm Butler Group, said there are still significant questions about the rejection rates and read accuracy of some biometric technologies.

"There are still a number of issues which have the potential to derail David Blunkett's plans to tackle crime and terrorism," he said in a statement.

In the Queen's Speech the government also formally announced its intention to introduce legislation to establish the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), which has been compared to the FBI. The UK's computer crime squad, the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit, will be one of the law enforcement agencies that will play a role in SOCA.

Topic: Security

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  • What is a facial scan? You know that people have facial reconstructive surgeries and face lifts more frequently now! What could not be changed beyond eyes which can also be damaged, and finger prints (my mother could not be properly fingerprinted for her newest drivers license here in Oklahoma due to her prints having become faded out due to her age 85) My mother's comment, was that "now all the 85 year old burgulars can have a field day ". What about inserting an ID under the skin like they do for dogs ( just kidding). I hope they can use DNA in some way which could be more quickly read perhaps coded out in a barcode for customs.
    anonymous
  • "... increase security for all". Once upon a time we spoke of increasing freedom for all. Now we are witnessing democratic [voters do not denounce it] fascism [all-powerful government] on the march: Orwellian databases in the name of "security". Of course it will be very popular among women and other cowards. But for people who love freedom the world is becoming claustrophobic.
    anonymous
  • PLEASE save us from ID cards - PLEASE save us from ID cards - PLEASE save us from ID cards!!!!!!
    Being German and 45 years happy to be living in the UK now and NOT having the regime of ID cards I'm scared now of the being introduce now her in the UK - the population does NOT KNOW the wider implecation of the system because the government keeps the people (conveniently) on the dark so they will not uprise against the introduction.
    as far as I am concerned an emphatic NO ! NO ! NO ! NO!
    Bernhard Berger
    anonymous