Feeds

Passport biometric trials point way for ID cards

Shadow pilot

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Build a business case: developing custom apps

A trial of technology underpinning the next generation of biometric passports could also be used to lay the groundwork for the introduction of identity cards in the UK.

Today's Guardian reports that the Home Office wants to complete a six-month trial of fingerprint and iris-scanning technology by next April. The pilot will also test public reaction.

A Home Office spokesman told The Register that this trial would test the "feasibility and cost" of the enrolment of biometric information for a new credit-card sized passport to be introduced in 2006. He said the Passport Service has paid for the pilot but conceded that information from the project could be applied to the development of a UK ID, or entitlement, card.

"The trial was tendered by the Passport Service but we are members of thte same government and share info on feasibility. This kind of programme does not indicate the inevitability of entitlement cards but if and when they are introduced we have to make sure they are delivered in a sensible way," he said.

The trial would involve a "representative sample" of around 10,000 Britons, he added.

According to The Guardian, the Government is expected to introduce a bill to introduce ID cards in the Queen's speech next November. Until then, the newspaper reasons, the Government can't openly test identity cards but it can test identical technology to be used in passports.

The Home Secretary, David Blunkett, favours the introduction of ID cards to go alongside the debut of next generation of passports and driving licences containing biometric information. The Prime Minister is notably less keen.

The Home Office is not releasing details of the companies involved in the trials but they are expected to involve two companies, Schlumberger Sema and Northop Grumman Mission Systems Europe, possibly working together in a joint project, The Guardian says. Both firms are already well established names in the smart card industry. Northop Grumman runs the ID card scheme for the US military.

According to tendering documents, the companies involved in the trial would be expected to "test the capture of fingerprint and iris data" and work out how this information can be securely registered in a database, The Guardian reports. ®

Related stories

Smart cards, ID cards, nice, nasty, inevitable?
Blair shoots down UK ID card scheme
US names the day for biometric passports
UK ID scheme complex, costly, won't work, says expert
3G, security drive smart card sales

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Rupert Murdoch says Google is worse than the NSA
Mr Burns vs. The Chocolate Factory, round three!
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Know what Ferguson city needs right now? It's not Anonymous doxing random people
U-turn on vow to identify killer cop after fingering wrong bloke
Germany 'accidentally' snooped on John Kerry and Hillary Clinton
Dragnet surveillance picks up EVERYTHING, USA, m'kay?
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
Who needs hackers? 'Password1' opens a third of all biz doors
GPU-powered pen test yields more bad news about defences and passwords
Think crypto hides you from spooks on Facebook? THINK AGAIN
Traffic fingerprints reveal all, say boffins
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.