Feeds

Government drops iris scan plan

Fingerprints only

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Iris scans will not form part of the UK Government's planned identity card system the National Identity Register (NIR). The only biometric information to be held on ID cards will now be fingerprints, in contrast to previously stated plans.

The Home Office's Strategic Action Plan for the National Identity Scheme, published in December, said that iris scans were now just an option, and only fingerprints will be taken from those enrolling in the scheme.

"When you enrol into the Scheme, your fingerprint biometrics (all 10 fingerprints) will be recorded and stored in the National Identity Register," said the document. "A subset of these will be held on your ID card or passport, in line with International Civil Aviation Organization standards. The introduction of iris biometrics also remains an option."

James Hall, the chief executive of the Identity and Passport Service, told IT Week that the decision was down to cost. "Collecting every biometric involves significant extra cost and I believe we can achieve the objective – securing people’s identities – without irises," he said.

A Home Office spokeswoman said that the government would focus on facial and fingerprint recognition but that a return to iris scanning in the future would not be ruled out.

"The reason we are not having iris scanning is to do with international obligations, most international countries are using facial and fingerprint recognition so it is to come in line with that," said the spokeswoman.

The Government had previously planned for a scheme that would use photographs, iris scans and fingerprints. The revised plan will make the cards cheaper to make and process but may raise fears about the level of security of the identification it provides.

The move is the latest policy climb-down for the ID card scheme. The Government also announced in December that it would no longer be building one new single database on which the NIR would be stored.

The information will sit on three existing Government databases. The Department for Work and Pensions database will hold biographical information; biometric data, such as fingerprints or eye scans, will be held on the Home Office system; and the Identity and Passport Service system will hold the remaining information.

The decision came despite the fact that the Government had previously avoided that plan in an attempt to avoid replicating existing flaws in those systems.

Copyright © 2007, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
Adam Afriyie MP: Smart meters are NOT so smart
Mega-costly gas 'n' 'leccy totting-up tech not worth it - Tory MP
'Blow it up': Plods pop round for chat with Commonwealth Games tweeter
You'd better not be talking about the council's housing plans
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
ONE EMAIL costs mining company $300 MEEELION
Environmental activist walks free after hoax sent share price over a cliff
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.