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Photos: A first glimpse of the ID card

Jacqui Smith predicts "popularity" for the biometric card
By Nick Heath, Contributor
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1 of 5 Nick Heath/ZDNET

Jacqui Smith predicts "popularity" for the biometric card

The Home Office has officially taken the wraps off the new ID card for foreign nationals coming to the UK.

The cards, which will be issued from 25 November, contain eight pieces of information, including two fingerprints and a facial photo scan, which are stored on a chip at its rear.

Here is Home Secretary Jacqui Smith holding up one of the new cards which she said would be "popular" when they are rolled out to the wider UK public from 2011.

Cards for UK nationals will look different to this one, which will be issued exclusively to foreign nationals.

Photo credit: Nick Heath/silicon.com

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2 of 5 Nick Heath/ZDNET

The pink and blue cards are marked with the royal crest, as well as a thistle, daffodil, shamrock and rose to represent each country in the UK.

The cards are printed with the holder's name, date and place of birth, sex and nationality, as well as the card's expiry date, place and date of issue, type of permit and remarks.

Identity cards for UK nationals will display largely the same information as a British passport - including biographical information and the cardholder's photograph on the front. This data, together with images of two of the holder's fingerprints, will also be stored on the card's chip.

Photo credit: Chris Beaumont/silicon.com

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3 of 5 Nick Heath/ZDNET

Here is the rear of the card, displaying the chip which carries the holder's biometric details.

The cards for foreign nationals will be produced by the UK Border Agency.

Photo credit: Chris Beaumont/silicon.com

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4 of 5 Nick Heath/ZDNET

This is a close up of the chip on the rear of the card.

The chip is protected by an encryption technique used to combat tampering, described by the Home Office as "very secure".

When the chip is accessed, the biometric details it contains will be checked against details linked to the individual, held on a Home Office central database.

Information on the chip can be read by swiping it close to a reader. The Home Office says this "contactless communication" requires the reader to be closer than the distance necessary to scan RFID tags.

The data on the chip will be protected by Extended Access Control, an internationally agreed convention for protecting data on documents of this type.

Photo credit: Chris Beaumont/silicon.com

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5 of 5 Nick Heath/ZDNET

Over the next 10 years the cost of producing the cards for foreign nationals is estimated to be £311m, with the cost of the entire scheme estimated to run to £4.7bn.

Photo credit: Nick Heath/silicon.com

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