UK IDs From Next Year Debating Over Biometric Fingerprint Element secretary Jacqui Smith announced late last week that biometrics taken from people in high-street businesses will be secure, despite doubts that it is possible to lock fingerprints to biographical details in a safe manner.

A select number of UK residents will be eligible to trial the new ID cards from next year, before they are rolled out on a massive scale in 2011, set at the price of £30.  The cards will store 2 copies of finger prints and a facial scan, allowing users to travel across Europe without a passport.  The biometric element is still yet to be confirmed, mostly due to privacy concerns.

Criticizing both Conservatives and Liberal parties as “coming out against the scheme”, Smith seemed to have ignored the fact that their concerns may have merit. Those opposed to biometric IDs believe that the scheme is too expensive, to invasive, and insecure, as revealed in a statement to ZDNet by Conservative shadow home secretary Dominic Grieve:

“We would scrap this expensive white elephant and use the savings to do things that would actually improve our security. The home secretary should stop kidding herself, admit this project is dead and devote her energies to carrying out her primary responsibility, which is ensuring the safety of the citizens of this country.”

The Home Office has not yet provided any details on how fingerprints would be linked to biographical data or how the National Identity Scheme would be implemented.

Smith conveyed that market competition and reputation would drive accredited businesses to take measures that ensure the biometric transfers they perform are secure.

Despite the support of the National Identity Scheme from the Home Office, anti-ID activists and politicians are making sure biometric IDs do not become a reality.  At least not until they sort out losing more confidential document on our national trains.

[ZDNet UK]

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