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UK Gov must meet biometric standards on ID cards

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Any national identity card introduced in the UK will have to meet new international standards for biometrics.

The standards body, BSI, has published a set of four new BS ISO/IEC 19794 standards, covering the science of biometrics, using biological characteristics to identify individuals, according to reports.

The standards will apply to the biometric technology that is to be added to British passports, and will also cover any future ID card, the BSI says. They will also cover access control and identification systems, such as the information that might be stored on a smartcard.

The aim is to ensure interoperability between the various products that will inevitably come to market, so that data collected by a machine from one vendor can be read by a machine from another, and so on.

The BSI also says the standards are designed to protect against inaccuracies in ID data.

The BSI began work on the standards in June 2004. It said then that the need for the standards was only partly politically driven, but acknowledged that the initial market would be mainly governmental and public sector. ®

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